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I remember growing up, it was always Friday night dinners out with the family (which meant, fish) and asking for Clam Chowder. However, it was always "is it the red one? or the white one?" As an adult my grasp became better that they were properly known as Manhattan and New England Clam Chowders. While each has their own unique and distinct taste, I think my favorite is the New England Clam Chowder. I love the creamy taste paired with the fresh clams. In this soup - you add a splash of red wine vinegar and I don't care what you think - you gotta do it!! It really enhances the soup to its full potential - I was a doubter too (until I tried it!) Enjoy - Diane
New England Clam Chowder
4 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
1 8 oz bottle of clam juice *optional in place of water below (preferred)
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced/cubed red potatoes, skin on optional
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half cream (I've used 2 cups 2% milk & 2 cups heavy cream with great results)
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, more if preferred
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
ground black pepper to taste
Drain juice from clams into a cup to measure, add in the bottle of clam juice and enough water to come to 4 cups total - then pour into a large skillet over the onions, celery and potatoes and cook over medium heat until tender. (approx 10 mins once to a medium boil)
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat - Whisk in flour until smooth ((make sure the flour and butter starts to cook and smell "nutty" or your chowder will taste like flour paste)) Whisk in warmed milk/cream (I microwave milk/cream for 45 seconds to get the chill off) and stir into butter/flour constantly until thick and smooth.
Stir into vegetables and clam juice.
Heat through, but do not boil.
Stir in clams just before serving. If they cook too much they get tough. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt, garlic salt, Old Bay and pepper.
**Note - some people do add in cooked bacon crumbles for an added flavor. Plus, if the chowder is too thick - you can add a little milk to thin.
Adapted from: Phyllis C & Diane Baker
Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
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