New England clam chowder is a milk – or cream-based chowder, and is traditionally of a thicker consistency than other regional styles, commonly made with potatoes, onion, and clams. Including tomatoes is shunned; a 1939 bill making tomatoes in clam chowder illegal was introduced in the Maine legislature is usually accompanied with oyster crackers (similar to hardtack). Crackers may be crushed and mixed into the soup for thickener, or used as a garnish.
Servings: 8 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups chowder and 1 1/2 teaspoons bacon).
- 4 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained
- 2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
- 4 bacon slices
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups cubed red potato
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 parsley sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- Thyme sprigs (optional)
- Drain clams through a colander into a bowl, reserving liquid and clams. Combine clam liquid and clam juice.
- Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion, celery, and garlic to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Add clam juice mixture, potato, and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender.
- Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth; add to pan. Stir in clams and half-and-half. Cook 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve with bacon. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.