This New England Clam Chowder Recipe was a request from my favorite nephew, Stefano, or affectionately “John” Stefano to me.
He graduated from Cambridge University, but spent a year at MIT, where, I’m guessing, he developed a taste for clam chowder. Stefano is a great chef, in his own right, so when he wrote me asking for my clam chowder recipe, I was quite flattered. Where Stefano lives, he has access to fresh clams. If you are not as lucky as he is, you may substitute them for canned clams.
Before you start, remember to wash all the vegetables you will be using, and save their scraps and peels (except the potatoes). You may use them when steaming the clams for extra flavor.
- 3 lbs of hard shell clams (preferably small clams)
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup white wine + ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup finely diced bacon
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 leek stalk, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
- ½ cup flour
- 4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
- ½ Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- Chopped fresh parsley
- On a colander, rinse the clams, discarding the ones that have broken shell or are already open;
- In a heavy stock pot, over high heat, place the peels and scraps of the vegetables (onions, carrots, leek, celery and garlic) and the clams. Add 2 cups of water, ½ cup of white wine. Cook for about 10 minutes or until you see that most of the clams have opened;
- Drain the clams, reserving the precious liquid. Use a mesh strainer to avoid any of the scraps in the reserved broth. You should have 2 cups. If you don't, add water enough water to complete the two cups. Set aside;
- Let clams cool, and discard all that did NOT open. Discard the shells and scraps. Remove the meat from the shells, chop coarsely and set aside. You will have approximately 1 cup;
- Rinse your stock pot, dry it and return it to the stove. Over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until just before it becomes crisp. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and leek. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste;
- When onions become translucent, add the garlic and cook an extra two minutes;
- Slowly add the flour, stirring constantly and until the flour is cooked through (about 2 minutes);
- Stir in the other ½ cup of white wine, stirring until it begins to thicken;
- Add the diced potatoes, the reserved clam broth, the clam meat, the thyme and the bay leaf, the milk and bring to a boil;
- Lower the heat and simmer until potatoes are tender;
- Stir in the cream, correct the salt and pepper and sprinkle the fresh parsley before serving.
- If you can’t find fresh clams, this clam chowder recipe may be prepared with the canned ones. Not as delicious, but way easier.
- In this case, just skip steps 1 through 4. And on step 8, add 1 cup of white wine to the flour and instead of the fresh clams, add two 10oz cans of minced clams and the clam liquid. Follow the remaining steps and bon appétit!