New England Clam Chowder, or Chowdah if you want to get it right, brings me back to our family trips to the seashore in New England. There is nothing like the sound of the sea and the smell of the ocean. We would spend a day wandering round and it would invariably include a lobster meal with New England clam chowder. Back when a lobster dinner didn’t require a mortgage to get!
With my in-laws visiting, I try to make meals that are a treat for them so when my father-in-law mentioned how much he loves New England clam chowder I knew I had to make it for him. It’s been years since I had it so it was a treat for me as well.
Technique for New England Clam Chowder
As this doesn’t take long to cook, prep the ingredients up front. Finely dice the potatoes and onions. If you can find a large onion, you only need one. For some reason we’re still getting tiny onions.
Coarsely chop the salt pork and brown in a saucepan. Do this on medium heat as you want to render the fat a bit but don’t want to burn the meat. After a few minutes add the chopped onion with the butter and bay leaves.
Cook until the onions start to become translucent. Then add the flour to make a bit of a roux. The goal is to have a hearty soup, not a watery soup. Then add the potatoes and sautè for a minute.
Add 2 cups/16oz of chicken stock and 10oz of clam juice. Bring to a simmer. Add the fresh thyme and season with sea salt and pepper. Add the clams.
At this point, if the soup is still watery, make a slurry of flour and water and add that to the pot. Later when you add the cream and white wine it will thin it back out so it’s ok to go thick here. Allow this to simmer for about a half hour to reduce a bit and to get the flavours going. Just before you serve remove the bay leaves and add a cup/8oz of heavy/double cream and a third of a cup/3oz of dry white wine. Don’t bring it to a boil but rather allow it to simmer.
Serve it with some fresh baked bread. Not surprisingly this was even better the next day. It was very much enjoyed and it did bring back some lovely memories of when I was a child.
New England Clam Chowder
A delicious stick to your ribs soup for the cool nights.
- 2/3 cup salt pork, coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped or two small onions
- 5 tbsp butter
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 large potato, cubed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 10 oz clam juice
- 28 oz clams
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- sea salt
- white pepper
- 2 cups heavy/double cream
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
In a sauce pan, brown the salt pork on medium heat. Add the butter, onions, and bay leaves. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the flour to create a roux.
Add the potatoes and cook for a minute then add the stock and clam juice. Bring to a simmer. Add the thyme and season with the sea salt and white pepper. Add the clams. Cook for a half hour. Add a slurry of flour and water if the soup needs to be thicker.
Just before serving add the cream and wine. Bring to a simmer but don't boil. Serve with crusty bread.