I don't have a recipe for my favorite chowder from Land Ho- but I started my family on this chowder and a child ate it. Sold. Now this one is for reals. You are starting with a shell, not a can. Can it work with a can of clams? Of course. But buy 5 cups worth of clam broth/juice and reserve the calm juice from cans.
- 7 pounds medium-size hard-shell clams, such as littleneck, topneck, or small cherrystone, washed and scrubbed clean.
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces (mmmmm. Bacon)
- 1 large Spanish onion (sweet onion, if you will), diced medium (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 medium boiling potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and diced medium
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup heavy cream (lap lap lap)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- Salt and ground black pepper, or white pepper
- 1. Bring clams and 3 cups water to boil in large, covered soup pot. Steam until clams just open, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer clams to large bowl and save the water; cool slightly. Remove clams from shells by opening clams with a paring knife while holding over a bowl to catch juices. Next, sever the muscle from under the clam and remove it from the shell. Reserve meat in bowl and discarding shells. Mince clams; set aside. Pour clam broth from bowl and cooking water into 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup, holding back last few tablespoons broth in case of sediment; set clam broth aside. (Should have about 5 cups.) Rinse and dry pot; return to burner.
- 2. Fry bacon in pot over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion to bacon; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour; stir until lightly colored, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved clam juice. Add potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add clams, cream, parsley, and salt (if necessary) and ground pepper to taste; bring to simmer. Remove from heat and serve.