I would like to share my favorite recipe for Clam Chowder with you today. Aren't you excited?
I know that logically, this recipe belongs over on my cooking blog. Why then, you may ask, did I decide to put it here? Quite simply, I've gone a solid seven months without a post on Everyday Fare and I really don't want to confuse people by doing something crazy like actually updating the blog.
Back to the recipe at hand... It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution, by world-renown chef Alice Waters. All of the recipes in the book are simple and easy to follow. If you are looking for a new cookbook, I highly recommend picking up a copy of your own.
2 lbs. clams, washed and well drained
1/3 c. water
1/4 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3/4 c.) and boiled until almost tender
2 tsp. butter
1 1/2 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 onion, finely diced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
1 small celery stalk, diced fine
fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 c. milk
1/3 c. cream
Place the clams and water in a heavy pot. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the clams open. Remove the clams from the pot. When cool, remove the clams from their shells and chop if they are especially large. Strain the liquor left in the pot through several layers of cheese cloth and set aside.
Heat butter in a heavy soup pot. Once melted add the bacon and cook until almost crisp. Remove the bacon pieces and add the onion and thyme. Cook for several minutes and add the celery. Continue cooking until the onions are soft and golden. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the potatoes and bacon and cook several minutes. Add the clams and reserved liquor. Heat to a boil. Immediately turn down to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the milk and cream. Heat gently, being careful not to let the chowder boil.
Adjust seasoning as needed before serving.
When I made the recipe this week, I was unable to find fresh clams here in land-locked Nashvegas. Shocking isn't it? I decided to substitute good quality canned clams (2 cans) and bottled clam juice ( 2 bottles) for the fresh clams and cooking liquid. It worked perfectly.
I served the chowder with some homemade bread and a fresh side salad. It was the perfect meal for a chilly November evening.