New England Clam Chowder
The Coach House at the Harbor View Hotel Edgartown, MA
Ryan Hardy, a Southern boy who now cooks and lives on Martha's Vineyard, has mastered this New England classic. His ion for the local dish is fierce, as evidenced by excerpts from the note he sent with his recipe: "I am entranced by clam chowder. I love the stuff, eat it almost every day. The smokiness of the pork with the saltiness of fresh clams recalls memories of summer spent at my grandparents' home in the Carolinas, where my Creole grandfather would make seafood gumbo from scratch. Upon arriving on the Vineyard back in 2002, I entered this chowder in the local chowder competition, substituting oysters for the clams, and took home first prize, a feat I am not likely to repeat! Anyway, I'm not kidding when I say I eat it almost every day. You can't beat it, and I feel as if I'm making up for lost time not growing up in New England!"
- 1/2 pound bacon, diced
- 1 1/2 heads medium onions, diced
- 3 stalks celerys, diced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or bottled clam juice
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 heads Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, stems removed
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 40 littleneck clams or 25 oysters, shucked and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until slightly browned, Lower the heat to medium. Add onions and celery to the pot and cook in the bacon fat until soft and translucent.
Whisk in the flour, and cook for a few minutes, stirring, to eliminate any raw flour taste. Add the clam juice, evaporated milk, and cream and bring to a simmer. Add the raw potatoes. When the potatoes are almost cooked (after 5 to 10 minutes), add the thyme, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, and clams. Simmer until clams are cooked (about 2 minutes).
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.