Most people think of eating New England Clam Chowder exclusively as a winter comfort food but I like to eat chowder when it’s hot outside too. It’s been strangely warm and humid in NYC for the past week and I hate it. I hate humidity. Anyway, before going to Chinatown this morning, I woke up to the idea of eating clam chowder. I’ve never made it before but whenever I go to Boston (which is quite frequent), the first thing I do is get a cup of clam chowder and just sit there smiling and mmm-ing. I don’t have the time to make the real nice clam stock and I’m sure it would make the chowder taste even better.
[100% organic, clams from Maine]
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 onion, finely diced
- Three 8 oz. bottles clam juice
- 2 cups water
- 1½ lbs Idaho potatoes (around 3), peeled and cut into small dice
- 40 unsalted saltine crackers, crushed
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb chopped clams, drained
- One 10.5 oz. clam sauce
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt & pepper
Cook the bacon in a pan over medium-heat until soft, a couple of minutes. Then add the diced onions, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes on medium-heat. Add in the clam juice, water, potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, and the crushed saltines (I put them into a ziplock bag and crushed them with my fingers).
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Make sure to stir occasionally so that mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to low and add in the clams, cooking for another 5 minutes. Then stir in the heavy cream, completely, and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then turn off heat.
Garnish with crispy bacon pieces and basil leaves, and serve with saltine crackers. I also like to add shredded cheddar cheese to the chowder.