Clam Chowder and Clamming

We had the opportunity to spend last weekend “en famille”.  Those occasions are rare now with everybody’s busy schedules.  I treasure those days where time stands still. There are no outside distractions from phone calls, emails and such.  Our only concern  is where will be our next outing or hike.  We cook a lot, experiment with ingredients a lot, and, needless to say, eat a lot.  Leisurely meals, great conversations, and laughs are what those days are all about.

This weekend marked our last visit to the clam flats and we ended up coming home with more clams than we anticipated.  Clamming is so much fun until you get to the cleaning… which is not so much fun, but in the end very rewarding.  Clam chowder brings to mind summers in New England;  but there is something comforting about eating a big bowl of clam chowder with the fire roaring in the wood stove on a brisk October day. I serve it with a big dose of cracked pepper, a nice crusty bread, and … lots of butter.

Clam Chowder for a crowd    (this recipe serves about 10 to 12)

  • 3 thick slices of bacon diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth)
  • 3 cups chopped clams
  • 3 cups half and half cream
  • 1 cup bechamel sauce (optional)

In a large pot sautée the bacon in a teaspoon of oil until soft.  Add onion and sautée until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and stir to cover with oil and juices   rendered from the onion.  Add the broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are starting to get soft.  Add the clams and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add the half and half and let the chowder get hot without boiling.  The chowder can be made ahead of time, cooled down, refrigerated and slowly heated up later or the next day.

NOTE: our family likes a thick chowder.  That’s were the optional 1 cup bechamel comes in.  Melt 3 tablespoon butter in a sauce pan add 1/4 cup flour let it cook slowly for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup warm milk and whisk until it starts to thicken.  Add to the chowder after the half and half.  

From my kitchen to yours

CK, la fille du boucher