This is a born-from-necessity soup that I made a few weeks back. Necessary because I needed to use up a couple of packs of frozen clams that I had purchased over the holidays, for an entirely different recipe that never got made.
Our spring, so far, has remained on the chilly side, so this ended up being a perfect meal on a recent cool night. And, though I used frozen, cooked clams this particular time, don’t hesitate to use canned clams and their juices. Fresh clams are definitely the ideal in this recipe so if you’ve got them, please use them!
New England-Style Creamy Clam Chowder Recipe
- 2 2-lb packages frozen, cooked littleneck clams, in their shells
- 3 tablespoons butter (use the real stuff, please)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced or diced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 small to medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup clam broth
- 2 cups veggie broth
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley
Place clams in a large pot and barely cover with water. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer just until all of the clams have popped open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a bowl and remove the clams from their shells. Reserve the clam meat. Place the shells back into the simmering water, cover, and continue simmering them for about 40 minutes.
Remove the shells from the stock and discard. Pour the stock through a fine mesh sieve, lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, into a bowl. Let the broth sit until it cools, about 1 hour. In this time, any remaining sediment will have settled on the bottom of the bowl. Gently pour the stock into a measuring cup, measuring out one cup of stock, and then discard the remaining stock and sediment left at the bottom of the bowl. That’s how you make easy clam stock.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and onion, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, until flour coats the veggies and starts to turn golden.
Add clam stock and veggie broth and stir very well, incorporating all of the flour until it’s well dissolved, about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape up any browned pieces from the bottom of the pan.
Add potatoes, herbs and spices and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook with the pan partially covered until veggies and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in half and half, simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, add fresh parsley and voila! You’ve got chow-dah.
This is not a classic recipe but a twist on one, so feel free to customize it however you like. Throw in some corn or peas or asparagus….really, you have to add what you really like and have on hand.
I hope things are warming up where you live. Happy spring, everyone!