New England Clam Chowder is a hearty, creamy soup made with potatoes, bacon, and fresh, tender clams. Definitely a great comforting dish on a season like this!.
I’m not a big fan of clams. I find them intimidating to cook and scoop. That’s just me, but after tasting this soup at a friend’s house for the first time, I knew I had to share it with my family because it is a hearty, comforting, and melt-in-your-mouth soup. I chose to try it first with fresh clams so I can appreciate the flavor of this dish more rather than cheating and using canned clams (like most restaurants would), and it didn’t let me down.
Add about 3 cups of water to a large pot before adding the clams. Cook the clams for about five minutes while covered and on a high heat. Once the lid is off, stir the clams and cook for an additional 3–4 minutes, or until they begin to open up. If any of the clams have not opened, remove them and turn off the heat. Reserve the juice for later use and pass the liquid through a mesh strainer that has been lined with a coffee filter.
And coarsely chop the clams meat and set aside. Cook bacon until crispy in a sizable pot over medium heat. While draining the bacon on paper towels, leave about 1-2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot.
After melting the butter, add the onions and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are tender. Stir in garlic, thyme, bay leaf, creole seasoning and flour . Cook for approximately 1 minute, or until the flour turns a light golden color and the garlic is fragrant.
While whisking continuously, add the half-and-half, cream, and the reserved clam juice. Stir in the potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes with the heat reduced, or until the potatoes are tender.
Add the chopped clam meat and cook for two minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Season chowder with salt and pepper to taste. To adjust the consistency of the chowder if it is too thick, gradually stir in more half-and-half or clam juice. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve immediately with crusty bread or cornbread and garnished with chopped bacon and chives.
What Does New England Clam Chowder Taste Like?
Finding the appropriate words to describe a dish’s flavor can be challenging. But I’ll try my best! A New England clam chowder has tender potato chunks that almost melt in your mouth, and it’s creamy and thick like you’re drinking gravy. You’ll adore how the bacon’s saltiness and smokiness contrast with the fading bitterness of the fresh “ocean” clams. To add a little heat, I’ve also added a teaspoon of Creole seasoning.
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Chowder’s history is as varied as its flavor, whether it is red, white, or clear.
What is a Clam Chowder?
There are many regional variations of clam chowder, but the basic description is a creamy chowder soup with clams and, of course, broth. Typically, it’s topped with either parsley or a bay leaf and has some diced potatoes, onions, and celery.
The Eastern United States is where this dish is said to have originated, with New England Clam Chowder being the most well-known and oldest version. It was first used by French, British, or Nova Scotian settlers and became widespread in the 18th century.