It's National Clam Chowder Day — Dig In To This Recipe!

embed clamPhoto: Courtesy of Fish Bar.
While we've been on a serious soup kick lately, weather like this requires something a bit more hearty than the average broth-based bowl: chowder. More stew-like in consistency, chowders are traditionally thickened with milk and/or cream, so don't even think about the calories. Our favorite? New England clam chowder, of course! So, with today being the national day in its honor, it's a great excuse to whip up a batch for dinner.
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...
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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
Steps:
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.
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