Thursday, July 14, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is a traditional shellfish soup in New England and in Newfoundland. Chowder probably comes from the French chaudiere, an iron cooking pot that settlers brought with them.

Serving: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes plus 8 to 10 minutes extra for fresh clams

3 pounds fresh clams or 1 (10-ounce) can clams or 12 ounces frozen clam meat
1 1/4 cups water or bottled clam juice
1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
2 allspice berries
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup frozen corn kernels or kernels from 1 ear fresh corn
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Wash the fresh clams and place in a large soup pot with the water or clam juice and 1 teaspoon of the butter. Simmer until the clams have opened up, 8 to 10 minutes.
Strain the clams through a large strainer into a large bowl. Reserve the stock. Discard any unopened shells. Remove the meat from the rest. Chop the larger clams and leave the small ones whole.
If you are using canned clams, drain the juices and add them to the water or clam juice. If you are using frozen clams, defrost them first.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the same soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
Mix in the flour and stir in the clam stock (or fish stock) and the wine. Add the potatoes, bay leaf and allspice. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes more.
Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf and allspice berries. Stir in the cream and clams. Cook for 3 minutes more, but do not bring to a boil.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the parsley and serve hot.
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