If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I have previously written about my love for New England clam chowder. Having clam chowder in Boston many, many moons ago was quite the revelation for a younger me, which you can read about here. So when I was approached by a well known cream brand to collaborate with them recently, it made sense that I used my recipe for clam chowder. With the weather getting cooler here in Ireland, it’s the perfect time to give it a try (and for my Australian followers, there’s still time for those of you in southern areas to have this soup in the evening.) Sourcing clams can be a bit tricky, depending on where you live. Fresh is definitely best, but if you’re stuck then clams in a jar or tin can be used, and if all else fails then omitting them altogether still results in a very tasty potato and bacon chowder! Serves four.
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 8 slices of smoked streaky bacon, diced; or approx 250g diced bacon/ lardons
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 60ml dry white wine
- 1 litre fish or vegetable stock
- 1 kilogram floury potatoes (e.g. rooster, red royale, sebago), peeled and diced
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, stalk removed
- 1.5 kilos of clams (or four 130g jars of clams or two 280g cans of clams, drained)
- 250ml cooking cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- Crackers for serving, oyster crackers if you can get them otherwise any small, buttery cracker will do
- Place a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then fry the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onions and celery and fry until softened and translucent.
- Add the flour and fry for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the white wine and fry off until most of the liquid has evaporated. Continue to stir.
- Add the stock and stir well to combine. Increase the heat until the stock has begun to boil.
- Add the potatoes, bay leaves, thyme and half of the bacon. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and falling apart.
- If using fresh clams, firstly rinse them under running water to remove any grit. Then in a separate saucepan, over a high heat add the clams with a cup of water. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium and allow to steam for 3-5 minutes or until the clams have opened. Any unopened clams are to be discarded.
- Add the freshly cooked or canned clams and cream to the chowder. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with remaining bacon, parsley and crackers; Serve and enjoy!