New England Clam Chowder

  • 2 dozen cherrystone clams (can use littlenecks)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 strips naturally-smoked bacon
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 – 1 &1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup grass-fed cream or milk
  • 2 tbsp. butter + 1tbsp. flour (optional)

Put clams into a large bowl with fresh temperature water (cool water). Add 1 tbsp. cornmeal or flour into the bowl. Let the clams sit 3-5 hours. Discard the water. In a large pot, place the clams plus two cups fresh water. Cover and bring to a boil. As the clams open up, pull them out of the pot and set aside. All of the clams should open up within 5-7 minutes. If after 10 minutes you still have unopened clams, discard them.

Pour the clam’s cooking water through a sieve with a cheese cloth to catch any grit or sand. Reserve the briny clam water.

In a soup pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon strips and set aside. Cook the onions in the bacon fat, on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add celery and potatoes and continue cooking 5-7 minutes. Add chicken stock, clam water, thyme, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and bay leaf. Cook 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are soft. With a slotted spoon remove half of the vegetables and puree in a food processor (make sure you do NOT puree the bay leaf). Add pureed veggies back into the soup pot.

Pull the clams from their shells and chop into smaller pieces. Discard clam shells. Add the clams into the soup with 1/2 cup cream. Do NOT bring the soup back up to a boil. If you like a thicker chowder, in separate pot sauté the butter and flour and then add to the chowder.

Garnish with chopped bacon. Enjoy!