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 (and now informed that there are many regional chowders like Rhode Island and Key West versions.) 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!) If you have the time to make or find 'bread bowls' to serve the chowder in, all the better!
Enjoy - Diane
New England Clam Chowder
Makes approx 3 quarts
4 (6.5 ounce) cans (3 cans minced, 1 can chopped clams)
1 8 oz bottle of clam juice
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 use 2 cups 2% milk & 2 cups heavy cream with great results)
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, **see note below
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
ground black pepper, to taste
Drain juice from clams into a 4 cup to measuring cup., 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, warm your cream/milk and set aside. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat - whisk in the 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 the milk mixture into the 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 the vinegar, and season with salt, garlic salt, Old Bay and pepper.
**Note - I prefer using a few shakes of Hot Sauce in place of the Old Bay Seasonings - its up to you. Remember, if the chowder is too thick just thin with some milk. For a flavor change, add in cooked bacon crumbles.
Want to make 'Homemade Artisan Bread Bowls' to Serve the soup in?
Try King Arthur Flours Recipe - it's fantastic! Makes 5 - 5" Bread Bowls
Adapted from: My Mom & Diane Baker
Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home