Clam chowder

Clam chowder

By
From
Man Food
Serves
2
Photographer
Billy Law

Despite chowder originating in France, somehow this classic dish has made its mark in the US, especially in New England and San Francisco. Everyone has their own version of clam chowder which they claim to be the best, and I have to say my version is not too shabby either. I love serving chowder in a bread bowl — tear off some of the crusty bread and dip it in the creamy white soup, filled with juicy clam meat, potato and bacon bits. And with no bowls to wash up, what's not to love?

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g dry white wine
1kg clams, pre-washed
60g butter
2 bacon slices, cut into thin strips
1 large onion, finely diced
35g plain flour
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm pieces
500ml thickened cream
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 small cobb loaves
handful chives, finely chopped

Method

  1. Bring 250 ml water and the wine to the boil in a large saucepan over a medium–high heat. Add the clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, give it a stir and put the lid back on, cook for another 5 minutes, or until most of the clams have opened.
  2. Scoop the clams out and transfer to a large bowl. Place two layers of muslin (cheesecloth) over a fine sieve and strain the clam juice twice to get rid of most of the sand. You should have about 500 ml of broth. When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shells, roughly chop and set aside.
  3. Melt 20 g of the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then fry the bacon until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towel. Melt the remaining butter then sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the flour to the onion, keep stirring for 2–3 minutes to cook the flour. Pour 250 ml of the clam broth into the pan and keep stirring to form a paste. Gradually add the remaining broth and keep stirring until smooth. Reduce the heat to low, add the potato, cover and cook for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potato is soft and the broth thickens.
  5. Stir in the clams, bacon and cream, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 1 hour to let the flavours develop.
  6. When ready to serve, reheat the chowder over very low heat. Cut the tops off the cob loaves and hollow out the base. You could shred some of the white bread and add to the chowder to make a thicker broth. Pour the chowder into the loaves, sprinkle with the chives and serve the hollowed-out bread on the side for dipping.
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