Over the past 10 years I have been looking for the best clam chowder recipe I could find. My friend, Grover has also been on this quest and so the two of us have scoured the earth for the perfect recipe. He even bribed some lady at the coast that worked at a fishing cannery that said she had the best recipe. Over the years I have learned a couple of tricks, as well as learned what I do not like in chowder. Personally for me, I do not like the 95% of thick heavy cream contents. I want a lot of clams, and I want an authentic clam taste without the heavy cream, or for that matter not to watery either. This recipe is a good one, and I am happy to finally post it.
Cook bacon in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon starts to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove bacon from heat and pour bacon grease out. Add the butter and onions (I season the onions with a little salt and pepper before I throw them in) and cook over low heat. Add your bacon back into the pot.
When it comes to cutting onions, you really need to have someone that specializes in the skills of fine onion cooking. Someone that isn’t going to start crying once the onion smell emits from the freshly cut onion.
Cook until the onions are soft, but not colored, about 8 minutes. Add the chopped celery and cook, uncovered for about five more minutes.
Then you want to add the clam broth.
I make up the difference with the clam juice from the store to get 3 cups of clam juice.
Now add the potatoes, bay leaves, them, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, ancho, and your bay seasoning.
Bring pot to a buil over high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer for about 10 minutes. Take the Razor clams and separate the foots from the bodies.
Grover taught me this trick, and it is pretty important. He even bought me and old grinder but I thought it was faster to use new technology. You want to chop the foots of the clams into 1/4 inch slices, the foots are already tender and are the morsels that when you bite into it taste like heaven. The bodies are tougher so you want to mince, so I add them to my food processor.
I grind the bodies of the clams up in a food processor.
Set clams aside, now this is really important this is what thickens up the consistency of the chowder. Remove the bay leaves and discard them. Take 1 1/2 cups of the potatoes, celery, soup mixture and add to a blender or food processor and puree it until its a heavy like a thick soup. See the larger cut potatoes below? Try to scoop them up and throw into blender.
Add back into the pot, along with the cream and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to simmer.
Add the clams to the simmering pot.
Stir, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add more bay seasoning if you think it needs it. Serve with chopped parsley or some thyme sprig.
This one is the Clam Chowder left my taste buds rocking for about two hours after I ate it. I like that it is healthier, and that it is not over powering with heavy cream and too thick.
I hope you enjoy.
The Hunting Chef
Photo Credit: My Good Friend…Phil Ottum