The Daily Basics’ Chef Robin White, a native New Englander, is reaching into her family cookbook for her favorite recipes for this time of the year. This Clam Chowder is one of her favorites. Chowda is a major summer affair in New England, but is probably at it’s best when there is a nip of Fall in the air. With clamming season almost over, go get yourselves a few pounds of clams and treat yourself to probably the best clam chowder you will ever have.
Serve it with a hunk of hot crusty bread and a salad and call it a meal. You will love this!
- 5 dozen little neck clams or 4 1/2 dozen steamer clams or a mixture of both
- 1/4 lb. salt pork, diced
- Reserved liquid from clams, about 2 cups
- 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 lbs red potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4? cubes
- 3 whole cups milk
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp. butter
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Scrub the clams under cold running water to remove grit and sand.
- Place the clams in a large pot with 3 cups cold water. Cover, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and steam until shells open. Check frequently and remove clams with tongs as they open allowing up to 5 minutes for little necks and about 1-2 minute for steamers. Discard any that don’t open.
- 3. Pour the cooking liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and set aside; you’re going to be using this in the chowder.
- Cook the salt pork in a large pot over medium-low heat until crisp for about 20 minutes. Remove the meat, drain on a paper towels and set aside to use as garnish when chowder is served.
- Add the onions to the rendered fat and cook over low heat until translucent, not browned, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the clams from the shells. If using steamers, cut off and discard necks (the black part). Coarsely chop the clams and set aside.
- Add the flour to the onions, stir for 1 minute then add the potatoes, the reserved clam cooking liquid, the sprigs of thyme and enough water to just cover. Increase heat to medium, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender – about 20 minutes.
- Add clams, milk, and cream to the pot. Simmer (do not boil) until just heated through about 5 minutes. (Clams will be rubbery if overcooked) Stir in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the chowder into bowls and top with a few pieces of crispy salt pork and Common Crackers if you can find them.