A few weeks ago I took yet another CM cooking class (what can I say…I’m officially addicted). This one was taught by the head of the fish department, Scot Lorac, and it focused on New England specialties. There were a few things on the menu that caught my eye, but the dish that sealed the deal was the chowder. I triple puffy ❤ New England clam chowder, but I can rarely find good versions of it in Texas. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, but I doubt it. And don’t even start to suggest that mess out of a can….*shudder*.
And let me tell you, Mr. Lorac did not disappoint. I cannot tell you how over the moon I was when I tasted his version. Holy mother of god it was possibly THE. BEST. CHOWDER. EVER. I know I use “the best ___ ever” a lot, but seriously guys this stuff will blow your mind. In fact, I can’t even remember the 3 or 4 other dishes Scot prepared that night. The chowder eclipsed them all! So of course this recipe had to be replicated immediately in my kitchen. After halving the recipe (because really, what would the Hubby and I do with a gallon of chowder?) it was fairly simple to throw together. For those of you below, oh…say…Oklahoma, you must make this when we get our next and probably last cold snap of the season. It will warm you from your toes to your nose!!
New England Clam Chowder
1 1/2 lbs. minced clams
1 qt. of clam juice
1/2 lb. of bacon, chopped
1/4 lb. yellow onion, minced
1/4 lb. celery, finely diced
3/4 lb. potatoes, cut into 1/4″ chunks
3 1/2 oz. all purpose flour
1 qt. of whole milk
12 oz. heavy cream
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
Salt, Pepper and Tobasco to taste
In a pot add the milk and cream and heat till scalded (a bit of “skin” will form on top). Set aside to cool.
In a stock pot, add the bacon and render until bacon is crisp and reserve. Remove bacon and set aside. Add onions and celery. Sweat them until translucent and slightly carmelized. Add the flour and stir constantly till roux is blond. Add the clam juice and milk while whisking. Add the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for approximately 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir almost continually. Add the clams, thyme and oregano during the last 15-20 minutes. DO NOT let this cook unattended. Continue to stir for the remaining 15-20 minutes. Add Worcestershire, salt, pepper and tobasco. Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. Serve with oyster crackers and a bit of the bacon crumbles.
This recipe should be done a day ahead of time. The soup needs about 24 hours to truly develop all the flavors.