CHARLOTTE – With the still chilly and humid nights of Spring in mind, we still can celebrate supper with soul warming meals that involve rich flavors and velvety creations. If you are in the Northeast, particularly New England, a chowder is a staple on every diner, pub and local hole in the wall. To define a Chowder is simply a rich stew like dish that can be creamy or tomato base (think Manhattan Clam Chowder) with the addition of vegetables and thickened with a roux. The dish below is a take on a traditional New England Clam Chowder, but with thick smoked bacon and Yukon Gold Potatoes. Give yourself a bit of time, a glass of wine, put on some Boston, and make some memories! Enjoy~
New England Clam Chowder with Smoked Bacon
Prep Time: 35 Minutes | On the Table: 90 minutes
2 lbs. Cherry Stone Clams | 6 oz. Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, diced
1 Leek, washed and diced | 1 Small Onion, diced | 4 stalks Celery, diced
4 tablespoon Unsalted Butter | ½ cup All Purpose Flour | 2 teaspoon Garlic minced
3 large Yukon Potatoes, medium dice | 36 oz. Clam Juice or Stock
4 oz. Chardonnay White Wine | 1 pint Heavy Cream | 1 pint Milk
1 tablespoon Thyme, fresh chopped | 3 Bay Leaves
2 tablespoon Chives, chopped | 3 tablespoon Parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Sea Salt | 2 teaspoon Black Pepper, fresh milled
Oyster Crackers and some good Beer or Wine to Drink
First, wash your clams well by placing the clams in a large stainless steel bowl, fill with water, agitate and pour off water. You may see some light sand at the bottom of the bowl- remove that and repeat this process 3 times. Now, in a large sauté pan that you have a lid for, place the pan on medium high and place a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, followed by the washed clams. CAREFULLY pour the white wine, followed by the garlic, 1 bay leaf and 2 cups of water. Cover and let simmer until all of the clam Pop open. Remove from heat and keep covered.
NOW- in a large stock pot, cook of your bacon to render the fat, don’t over cook the bacon, it should be leathery, not crispy. Add in your butter, diced onions, celery and leeks. Sweat this “white mire poix” over medium heat for around 5 minutes. Once your onions start to turn translucent, add in the flour and stir for two minutes. You are making your roux in the pan, also called “sanger”. After two minutes, whisk in the stock, milk, cream, potatoes, thyme, parsley and the bay leaves. Now- carefully pour the clam liquor out of the sauté pan into the chowder- making sure you look for any sand residue. Pick the clams out for later, removing them from the shell.
Stir every minute until the mixture comes to a simmer. Add in your sea salt and pepper. Turn on the very lowest simmer, stir every 10 minutes and cook for 35 minutes. Add in the clams and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Check the consistency and remove from the heat. Let rest for 10 minutes before you serve.
For service, you can bowl up individually and garnish with chives and a side of oyster crackers or family style with crusty baguette. Share meals together, Food is Life, Food is Love! Chef Glenn is a corporate chef based in Waxhaw- please send any feedback to email@example.com