But, because our expertise starts and ends with crushing crackers, chef Michael Kornick of Fish Bar in Chicago shared his chowder recipe that keeps patrons coming back for its decadent goodness. While Kornick whips this up by the gallons, you can at least make enough to enjoy tonight for dinner and tomorrow for lunch. That is, if you can resist seconds and thirds...
New England Clam Chowder
Yield: 8 servings (about 1 cup per serving)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Ingredients: 8 Quahog clams
2 quarts water
2 slices thick-cut bacon
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced small
1/2 cup celery, diced small
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp thyme, chopped with no stems
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups clam juice
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp butter
5 1/2 tbsp white flour
1. In a large pot, cook clams in four cups of water until they just begin to open. Remove and place on a plate to cool, then shuck and cut into bite-sized pieces. Reserve water.
2. Separately, cook bacon over low heat for 15-to-20 minutes to render the fat (very light in color).
3. While the bacon is cooking, melt the butter in a pan over low heat and whisk in flour. Cook together for five minutes until the mixture is colorless.
4. To the pot with bacon, add in the celery, onions, and garlic and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are soft.
5. Add in the thyme, reserved clam water, clam juice, salt, pepper, and cream.
6. Bring to a simmer and whisk in the cooked butter and flour mixture. Bring back to a simmer and cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
7. Simmer for 20 more minutes, add cooked clams back in, taste and adjust salt or pepper as necessary, then serve.