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New England Clam Chowder

New England clam chowder, the most famous of all chowders, originally comes from the Massachusetts coast. This New England clam chowder recipe includes instructions for both fresh and canned clams because folks who live inland don't always have access to fresh. Serve with crackers or oyster crackers.

[Credit: Corbis-Digital Stock]
Credit: Corbis-Digital Stock

Preparation time: 15 minutes (or 25 if using fresh clams)

Cooking time: 45 to 55 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

2 to 3 strips bacon

1 medium onion

2 medium potatoes

Fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 cups milk

1 cup clam or fish broth, or 1/2 cup clam juice and 1/2 cup water, or 1 cup reserved canned clam liquid and water

1 bay leaf

1/2 to 1 cup cream

Two 6 1/2-ounce cans clams, or about 3 to 4 dozen fresh clams

Salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fresh parsley

  1. Dice the bacon.

  2. Chop the onion.

  3. In a large pot over medium-low heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is nearly cooked through.

  4. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.

  5. Peel and dice the potatoes.

  6. Mince the fresh thyme.

    If you’re used dried thyme, you don’t need to mince it.

  7. Add the potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, milk, clam broth, and bay leaf to the pot.

  8. Cover partially and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

    Don’t allow the liquid to boil.

  9. If using canned clams, drain them.

    If you’re working with fresh clams, remove them from their shells.

  10. Add the cream and clams to the pot.

  11. Cook, uncovered, until the clams are heated through, about 5 minutes.

  12. Remove the bay leaf.

  13. Season with salt and pepper.

  14. Chop the parsley.

  15. Stir 2 tablespoons parsley into the chowder.

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