When I see New England clam chowder on a menu, I just have to have it. Hailing from Fall River, Massachusetts (yes, the same place as Emeril Lagasse) there are few foods that I find “homier” for me.
The one common ingredient that I absolutely refuse to put in…is bacon. It doesn’t belong, it’s not traditional, and it takes over the whole flavor of the chowder. It should tastes like clams, not bacon. It’s clam chowder for fucks sake, it’s in the name.
Anyway, here’s my recipe. I measure nothing and eyeball everything. It should be all about proportions so you can make as little or as much as you want and easily throw it all together.
Step 1: Cut up a shit ton of potatoes. The smaller the pieces, the more it’ll soak in the flavor. Skin them first, cause otherwise it’ll sloth off the potato and taste like grainy shit at the bottom. Cut up carrots and celery as well and boil them off till they’re soft.
Step 2: Dice up a handful of mini peppers, shallots, onions, and add a spoonful of minced garlic. Sauté it all together with butter, and add it to the boiled vegetables once they’re tender.
Step 3: Remove any excess water until there’s just enough to cover everything in the pan and lower the flame to simmer. Mix in powdered chicken bouillon until it is lightly flavored. Keep taste testing it…it’s very easy to over salt with that shit.
Step 4: Mix in heavy cream and/or half and half (I use both, about 2/3 cream and 1/3 half and half) until it covers the stock another 3 inches. It’s ok if it seems watery, you’ll be thickening it up with corn starch at the end.
Step 5: Add the clams, I use canned clams…don’t buy them smoked or some gross shit, regular baby canned clams will do. Strain out and reserve the clam juice and set aside. You will use all the clams…but the clam juice itself has to be added in bit by bit because it’s very easy to fuck up, and then the whole thing will end up tasting and smelling like dead mermaid vagina. If I use 3 cans of clams, I usually only use two of their juices and toss the third. You’re gonna have to experiment to what you like here.
Step 6: Now you’re going to season it. This is where people with no life skills can really fuck up a recipe. Use common sense, and taste test often because you can’t “unseason it.” Add two caps of Worcestershire sauce, 2-5 bay leaves, tons of white pepper, black pepper, thyme, herbs de Provence, paprika, a tiny bit of ground sage (it’s potent, be careful) and celery salt…celery salt is salty, don’t fucking over do it. Toss in more minced garlic, and add a shit ton of garlic and onion powder…it’s almost impossible to overdue those and it gives the flavor of the chicken bouillon with all the salt. If you have to add table salt to this at the end, then you fucked up and pussied out on one of the other saltier ingredients.
Step 7: Once the taste is to your liking, you can thicken the sauce slowly using corn starch…that’s what will give it that chowder texture. Don’t just throw it in, it’ll coagulate into a lung biscuit looking thing and be really fucking gross. What I do is take a coffee cup and scoop up some of the liquid, spoon in corn starch and whisk…and then slowly whisk it back into the chowder. Wait a few minutes, examine it, and repeat till you get the desired thickness you want. Once you add in the cream and milk, you never let it reach a full boil again. The milk part of it will get fucking gross, don’t do it. Just let it simmer with tiny, tiny bubbles.
And there you go. I like to add dried chives and cracked black pepper on top before serving. Makes it look pretty and shit. 👌🏻
The more you make this, the better you’ll get at it. He approves.
If you’re not offended by my recipe instructions, then you’ll probably like my politics.
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