1. Wash clams, and place in a large pot filled with 8fl oz/230ml of water. Cover pot with lid, and steam the clams (roughly 6 minutes).
2. Remove clams from the broth with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
3. Pour the clam juice through a sieve, lined with kitchen paper, and reserve.
4. When cool, take the clams out of their shells, chop and set aside.
5. Place oil and teaspoon of the butter in a medium-sized skillet, add the chopped bacon.
6. Cook until most of the fat is rendered.
Add the chopped onions, and sauté until they are translucent, not browned.
7. Add garlic, chopped basil, thyme and rosemary, and sauté for 30 seconds.
8. Add the rest of the butter and the sour cream, and melt slowly.
9. In a large pot place all the peeled and diced potatoes.
10. Pour over the reserved clam juice.
Add water to cover the potatoes.
11. Bring to the boil, lower heat, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
12. Take the pan off the heat, but do not drain.
13. Add the reserved clams, onions, bacon and sour cream mixture to the pan. Stir.
14. Add the double/heavy cream.
Reheat gently, but do not allow to boil.
15. Serve in warm bowls and top with a whole basil leaf and a dollop of sour cream.
When I married my American husband, I embraced all things American, but especially all things New York. Close to our home in Upstate New York was a farm store, stuffed to the gills with the produce of the season: tumbling punnets of cherries, raspberries, figs and strawberries in the summer, fresh corn, root vegetables and winter greens in the fall, and shelf upon shelf of specialist flours, grains, conserves and chutneys, and larders laden with local cheeses, fresh eggs, and sometimes lobsters and clams. It wasn’t long before I made my first clam chowder.
There are, of course, several versions of clam chowder – Manhattan, Delaware and Rhode Island to name but three – but they all fall into one of two categories: they are either tomato-based or cream-based. And the New England clam chowder is made with cream.
A little piece of trivia for your dinner-table conversation: in 1939 a bill was prepared to be introduced into Maine legislation trying to ban the use of tomatoes in clam chowder. New Englanders take their clam chowder very seriously.
I have suggested that you use red potatoes for the chowder – as always because of the superior flavour – but you can use other varieties. Nor do you have to peel the potatoes, although I prefer not to have little bits of skin floating in my creamy-white soup. You can also make the chowder from tinned clams, in which case, after straining the clams and retaining the liquid, you can start at step 5 in the recipe below.
One shortcut you cannot make when using fresh clams, however, is to leave out straining the juice through a sieve lined with kitchen paper. I do this process twice because you do not want little bits of sand and grit from the clam shells infiltrating the chowder.
If you’ve never made clam chowder before, you’re missing a treat. I love the rich, buttery, sea-food flavour of this recipe, and the basil topping adds a fresh, clean finish. It is traditional to serve little crackers with a soup, which you crumble up and add to the chowder giving it more texture, and thickening it slightly.
View line-by-line Nutrition Insights™: Discover which ingredients contribute the calories/sodium/etc.
|Serving Size: 1 (397g)|
|Recipe Makes: 4 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 433 (68%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 48.1g||64 %|
|Saturated Fat 29.8g||149 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 13.2g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 2g|
|Cholesterol 148.4mg||46 %|
|Sodium 226.9mg||8 %|
|Potassium 1280.5mg||34 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 46.3g||14 %|
|Dietary Fiber 4.7g||19 %|
|Sugars, other 41.6g|
|Protein 7.8g||11 %|
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Calories per serving: 633
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