Let’s face it, you really can’t have a clambake without a solid clam chowder recipe. And I’m pretty sure we have just the ticket. Straight from Hog Island Oyster Co. (you may remember them from this incredible birthday party), this clam chowder recipe trumps any and all clam chowder recipes out there. Photographed by Amber Gress, I urge you to make this bad boy immediately, if not sooner.
- 1/2 pound high quality bacon, sliced
- 1/2 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 2 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 8-10 medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into bite-size cubes. Do not peel!
- 6 pounds small, raw Hog Island® Manila clams in the shell, rinsed (note: Hog Island estimates ~3/4 lb. of clams per serving)
- 1 quart heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
- Parsley for garnish
- Place clams in a colander in the kitchen sink and rinse throughoughly under running water. Pick through and discard clams with broken or open shells. Allow clams to drain in the sink while you prepare your stock base.
- FOR THE BASE: In a large stock pot bring about 5-6 cups of water to a boil (no salt) and cook the potatoes until al dente, or just before fork-tender.
- While the potatoes are boiling, in a second heavy-bottom pot melt the butter with the thyme. Render the bacon in the butter and thyme (over low heat, careful not to burn); once bacon is rendered add leeks and celery, cook until vegetables are translucent.
- Add carrots and cook until bendable without breaking.
- Add the potatoes and 4 cups of potato water. The base can be made (up to one day) ahead and kept chilled.
- FOR THE CLAMS: Portion your clams out per single serving (~3/4 lb per serving) and cook each serving individually. Working in batches, place a single serving of clams in a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium heat.
- Ladle one cup of the chowder base on top and cover the pan, simmer for about 5-6 minutes, or until the majority of clams open.
- Skim through and pick out any clams that have not opened. (Don’t skip this step — unopened clams may spoil the chowder.)
- Add in 1/2-cup cream per serving and bring the chowder to a simmer. If it is too thick, add in more of the potato water. When the chowder is bubbling in the middle, it is ready to serve. Pour individual servings into a large soup bowl.
- Serve garnished with cracked pepper and chopped parsley. Don't forget to place extra empty bowls on the table for discarding clam shells.