Here on Cape Cod there are as many recipes for clam chowder as there are clams in the sea. This one takes the very best elements of several dozen versions and puts them together to make a creamy, rich meal in a bowl that even New Yorkers will have to admit beats anything with tomatoes.
Although you can certainly start by digging and shucking your own clams, most fish stores and many supermarkets sell shucked, chopped clams — my preference. While some recipes call for thickening clam chowder with flour, I don’t like the library-paste texture that can result (actually, I don’t like to use thickener at all), so those of you who are used to the thick consistency of many commercial varieties will find this soup on the thin side. If you wish to thicken it up, see the instructions at the end of the recipe.
|3||oz. salt pork or thick slab bacon, diced|
|1||large yellow onion, peeled and chopped into medium dice|
|3||stalks celery (with leaves), rinsed and cut into small dice|
|3||cups Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes|
|4||cups bottled clam juice|
|1½||pt. (3 cups) chopped fresh clams, drained, liquid reserved|
|2||cups whole milk|
|4||cups light cream|
|~||Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper|
|½||cup (1 stick) butter, cut into slices, for garnish|
|~||Paprika for garnish|
For a thicker chowder, add 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour to the pan after you have cooked and removed the salt pork and drained off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Whisk continuously over moderate heat until the mixture is smooth. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add this slurry to the chowder after the potatoes have been cooked, and stir well to combine. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the chowder is slightly thickened before adding the remaining ingredients.
This content is from the book The Cape Cod Table by Lora Brody.
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