Chow Down on Chowdah: New England Clam Chowder – New Hampshire

After a brisk day of hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, nothing could be more inviting than a nice, hot bowl of clam

DSC_0063 label

chowdah. You can find good clam chowder at any clam shanty up and down the Eastern Seaboard, but New Hampshire has an especially strong connection to the rich, creamy soup because it’s one of the first places in the New World to have successfully cultivated potatoes, according to the National Potato Council. In the recipe we’re featuring, we used fresh clams, and it absolutely makes a difference in bringing out a bright, briny clam flavor. If you’ve never steamed clams before, don’t worry – it’s easy. Soak the clams so they filter out the excess salt and sand, then brush them well; then in a large pot bring a few cups of water to a boil along with onion and celery trimmings. Add the clams, cover and let steam until these babies open. You don’t want to overcook them; they’ll cook a little longer in the soup. Use red potatoes which are waxier and hold their shape better than the white variety. The rest is super easy: If you can fry bacon, you can manage. As they say in Manchester, mmm, mmm, wicked good!

Support local artisans and crafters at the Downtown Holiday Market in Manchester, December 11, 13 and 18, 2014.

New England Clam Chowder

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds littleneck clams (yields approx. 1 cup of clam meat = approx. 30 clams)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/3 pound bacon
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup reserved clam cooking liquid
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 6 to 8 small red potatoes, diced medium
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

To steam clams: Pick through clams and discard any with cracked or damaged shells. Soak for 20 minutes in fresh water. Lift them out of the water bath (do not strain) and brush them vigorously to get rid of any excess sand. Heat 3 to 4 cups of water in a large pot with onion and celery trimmings until slowly boiling. Turn down heat to medium. Add clams and cover. Steam about 4 to 6 minutes or until the shells start to open. Remove from heat and let cool. Discard any clams that do not open. Once shells are cool enough to handle, open shells, extract and chop meat coarsely. Reserve the cooking liquid.

To finish chowder: Fry bacon until it’s crisp. Remove bacon, add onion and celery. Cook until onion is translucent. When bacon is cool enough to handle, chop and return to pot. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ¾ cup of the reserved clam cooking liquid (skimming off the top to avoid sand from the bottom of the pot), bottled clam juice, water and potatoes. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium. Add chopped clams and simmer until potatoes are tender, approximately 25 minutes. Finish with cream, adjusting seasonings to taste.

Advertisements

One thought on “Chow Down on Chowdah: New England Clam Chowder – New Hampshire”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s