New England Clam Chowder
Source: John Fink, The Whole Beast
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on December 12, 2015.
Makes 2 quarts
2 ounces pork fat or salt pork
3 yellow onions, diced
1 head celery, diced
2 large leeks, washed well and sliced
1 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon oregano leaves, chopped
1¼ pounds clams, minced (manila clams from Hog Island are delicious in this recipe, as well as razor clams from Washington)
2 to 3 cups clam juice
¼ pound smoked shrimp
3 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Half and half to thin the soup, if needed
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Oyster crackers, if desired
Melt the pork fat or cook the salt pork slowly in a thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat until lightly crisp (about 8 minutes for salt pork). Add the onions, celery, leeks, and celery seed and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and tender with no color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add the potatoes, the bay leaf and ¼ of the fresh herbs. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the clams, clam juice, smoked shrimp, and another ¼ of the herbs. Stir in the cream and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add another ¼ of the herbs. Make the roux in a separate pan by melting the butter over medium-low heat, whisking in the flour and cooking until a deep beige color, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Add the hot roux to the soup, whisking it in gently. Add the lemon juice and continue to cook, stirring until thickened. Add the rest of the herbs and thin the soup with half and half if needed.
Serve garnished with chopped chives and oyster crackers, if desired.
Photo by Nicole Quihuis.