Specialty Equipment: Clam Shucking Knife
Anna’s Tip: If you don’t have a clam shucking knife available, or if you don’t feel comfortable shucking clams, don’t worry — you can steam the clams until the shells pop open and then pull the meat out. However, by shucking clams raw you keep all the delicious clam juice, which makes this chowder so fantastic!
2 TBS unsalted butter
4 ounces smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup chopped leeks
2 celery stalks, minced
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 TBS minced garlic
1½ pounds red bliss potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces (If prepping in advance, submerge diced potatoes in ice water
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
⅓ cup dry white wine
2 cups clam juice, either bottled, reserved from shucking fresh clams, or a combination
25 cherrystone clams (about 5 lbs), scrubbed and shucked, reserving juices
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a heavy-bottomed stock pot, melt butter over low heat and add bacon. Cook bacon for 7 to 10 minutes, until fat has rendered and bacon is crispy.
- With a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pot and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add leeks, celery, and yellow onion to the pot with rendered bacon fat and butter. Sauté over medium-low heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic, potatoes, thyme, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add white wine. Allow the wine to cook off, about 2 minutes, and then add the clam juice. Simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes have softened.
- Finally, add the clam meat. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream, being careful not to boil. Return the bacon to the pot. Reserve 2 TBS of bacon, chop or crush and serve as a garnish. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm with oyster crackers or croutons.