One of the things I miss the most about the Pacific Northwest is free seafood. I spent my childhood summers playing at the beach while my parents were fishing and clamming.
My family shows our love through food. So every trip home, or when my parents visit, always results in stocking my freezer with fresh seafood.
I looooove clam chowder. And when it's fresh, made with razor clams that my parents dug up on the Oregon coast, it's sooooo good.
I prefer using milk instead of cream because it's healthier and less filling, or rather, it doesn't sit in my stomach as much as cream would. Then I can eat more clam chowder. Yippee!!
New England Clam Chowder
For a 5-quart pot, you'll need:
1 or 2 lbs fresh or canned clams, reserve the clam juice
1 14-oz can of corn
4 potatoes, diced (I like Yukon potatoes because they're creamier.)
1 large onion, diced
4-6 strips bacon, diced
About 3 to 5 cups whole milk or cream
About 3 to 5 cups chicken broth or water
1/4-cup or more flour to thicken soup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp parsley
Peel and dice the potatoes.
Fill a 5-quart stock pot halfway with water, clam broth, and/or chicken broth. If there's a lot of clam juices, especially when using fresh clams, there's little need for chicken broth. If you're using fresh clams and don't know, read my directions on how to Prepare Geoduck and Razor Clams. Add 1 tsp salt and turn the heat to high to boil.
Peel and dice the potatoes. Add the diced potatoes to the pot.
In a saute pan, on medium heat, saute bacon and onions until golden brown. Add the bacon, minus the grease, and onions to the stock pot.
Add corn to the pot along with 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1/2 tsp parsley.
When the potatoes are just starting to soften, add the milk or cream. I prefer using milk because it's lighter, but if you use cream, obviously you don't need as much flour. Start with about 1/4-cup flour, dissolved in 1 cup of milk, to thicken the soup. Pour 2 more cups of milk or cream into the pot or until the ingredients are covered. Check seasonings. Turn heat down to medium-low to simmer for about 15 minutes to thicken the soup.
Check again, when the soup is as thick as you'd like, add the clams and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Don't leave it too long or the clams will overcook and become rubbery.
Seriously, this is so much better homemade.
And just a quick look at my old photo. Not as bad as some of my early photographs, but not as appealing as the newer ones, yeah?