The only reason Paul Revere arrived in Lexington ahead of his horse riding companion was because his chilled bones were aching for some New England clam chowder. Who could blame him? The delicious mixture of clams, salt pork, and ship’s biscuit would have anyone running their horse ragged for a taste. It certainly has us racing to the nearest clam shack when we are in Boston. Which is better than screaming, “The British are coming!” while riding through the streets at midnight.
BT’s NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER RECIPE
Serves 6 Total Time: 70 Minutes [17 minutes preparation; 53 minutes cooking]
WHAT YOU NEED
3 pounds littleneck clams, cleaned 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced 4 1/2 cups clam broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme 3 cups fish stock
1 cup water 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1 cup dry white wine 2 cups light cream
2 ounces salt pork, minced 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups yellow onions, minced Toasted bread croutons (optional)
1 cup celery, minced
WHAT TO DO
1. In a large stock pot add the cleaned clams along with garlic, thyme, water, and dry white wine. Heat the covered stock pot on high to steam the clams until their shells open, about 6 to 10 minutes, depending upon their size. Drain and shell the clams, reserving the broth. Discard any clams whose shells did not open. Chop the clam flesh and set aside. Strain the clam broth and set aside.
2. In a large, heavy pot over medium heat slowly cook the salt pork for 5 minutes or until crisp and the fat is rendered. Remove the pork cracklings and set them aside. Slowly cook the onions and celery in the rendered fat for about 5 minutes over medium heat stirring frequently, or until soft but not browned. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes. Add the clam broth that was set aside along with the fish stock, and whisk the mixture to remove any flour lumps. Bring the liquid to boil, add the potatoes, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
3. Stir in the cooked and chopped clams, salt-pork cracklings, chives, and light cream. Heat the chowder over medium low heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in large soup bowls with parsley and toasted bread croutons.*
* BT Tip: For a more traditional take on New England clam chowder use milk crackers instead of croutons.