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Video:New England Clam Chowder

with John Mitzewich

Real New England clam chowder is easy to make, and features an amazingly delicious combination of clams, bacon, and potatoes. Clam chowder is truly one of America's greatest soup eating experiences.See Transcript

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Transcript:New England Clam Chowder

Hi, I'm Chef John Mitzewich for About.com. Today I'm going to show you how to make a traditional clam chowder. It's a much lighter soup than you think, and very easy to put together.

Boil Clams

First, we're going to take a pound of little-neck clams and a cup of water; bring it to a boil, cover. We want those to open and we'll use that to garnish, as well as use the liquid for the stock. It's just going to take a couple minutes. When they open remove and reserve, and you'll also have about a cup of liquid to reserve, to use in the soup.

Render Fat

Then in a tablespoon of butter, slowly render two slices of bacon that's diced up on med-low. We don't want it fried crisp, just want it to give up the fat. In the meantime cut up 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes into about 1/4-inch dice.

When the bacon's cooked, reserve the cooked bacon, but leave the fat in the pan. We're going to want 2 tablespoons of fat at least, in which we're going to sweat 1/2 onion diced. Throw in a pinch of salt and cook on med-low for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent.

Prepare Clams and Juice

This will give you time to get the clams together. We're going to need 2 (10-oz) cans of whole baby clams, and 2 cups of clam juice. You can use some of the juice form the cans if you want.

When the onions are translucent add 2 tablespoon of flour. Cook that for about 3-4 minutes. Clam chowder is not a thick soup, so if you want it a little thicker add 1 more tablespoon of butter and flour.

Mix Ingredients and Cook

After the flour cooks, whisk in the clam juice, slowly at first, then just pour the rest in. Also add the reserved clam cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer, dump in the potatoes, and cook, covered, on medium heat for 20 minutes.

That should be perfect to make the potatoes tender. One trick I like is to mash a little of the potato to give the soup a little body, without adding any extra starch. Then add the 2 cans of clams and stir it in.

And then the dairy; I like half milk and half cream, so add 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk. Give that a stir and turn the heat to low. We just want to heat through; we don't want it to boil. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Enjoy and Serve Your New England Clam Chowder

When heated through add the reserved clams and your chowder is pretty much ready. Those clams only take a minute to heat through. Ladle that up into some bowls and top with the reserved bacon, parsley, and oyster crackers, and you have one of America's great soup experiences. I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!
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