New England Clam Chowder
This quintessential New England recipe has been around for many generations. In its original form, it used condensed milk, as fresh dairy was often not available. This is a slightly updated version of the classic. I have made this using leftover steamer clams, but I prefer chopped hard-shell clams. This is best if made a day ahead.
- Servings Makes 5 servings, 237 ml (1 cup) each
- 907 grams* (2 pounds) cherrystone or littleneck clams*
- 2 slices bacon, cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) pieces
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) butter
- 237 ml (1 cup) chopped yellow onion
- 473 ml (2 cups) chopped 1.3 cm (½-inch) dice potatoes
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated skim milk
- 237 ml (1 cup) half-and-half or light cream
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) sea salt
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) white pepper
- 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) Worcestershire sauce
- Oyster crackers, for serving
*Editorial note: This also works well substituting clams in the shell with 118 ml (1/2 cup) fresh chopped clams and a bottle of clam juice.
1. Rinse the clams thoroughly to remove any sand or grit from the outside. Bring 473 ml (2 cups) of water to a boil and add the clams. Steam until they open, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the clams into a bowl through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter; reserve this broth. When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop coarsely. You should have at least 118 ml (½ cup).
2. In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove from the pot and drain on paper towels. Crumble or chop finely.
3. Melt 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of the butter in the pot and add the onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes and stir to coat with melted butter. Cook for another 2 minutes over medium heat.
4. Add 355 ml (1½ cups) of the reserved clam broth and simmer until the potatoes are soft but not mushy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the clams and bacon and simmer for another 3 minutes.
5. Add the evaporated milk and half-and-half or light cream. Add the salt, pepper, and Worcestershire and stir to blend. Heat thoroughly, but do not boil. Float the remaining 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of butter on top. Serve hot with crackers.