The Best New England Clam Chowder is a warm and satisfying soup that undoubtedly brings comfort to any meal. This hearty classic soup embodies the rich culture and flavors of New England and can be enjoyed in both the warmer months or cold winter seasons. Perfect for seafood enthusiasts, this clam chowder is packed with flavors and creamy goodness. Designed by a professional cook, this recipe blends traditional cooking techniques with contemporary twists that guarantee the utmost deliciousness in each bowl of soup. In this article, we will explore the ingredients, step by step process, history, and curiosities behind this popular dish!
Ingredients for the Best New England Clam Chowder Recipe:
- 4 cups clam juice
- 1 pound fresh clams, cleaned and chopped
- 4-6 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Step by Step: Cooking the Best New England Clam Chowder
1. Prepare your ingredients: Begin by ensuring you have all the necessary ingredients measured and prepared to guarantee an efficient and hassle-free cooking experience. Don’t forget to properly clean and chop the clams!
2. Cook the bacon: In a large pot over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon for 7-8 minutes until crisp and brown. Remove the bacon, set it aside, and use the same pot to cook the onions and garlic using the bacon grease for maximum flavor.
3. Add flour and mix well: Stir in 1/4 cup of flour to the onion and garlic mixture, blending well to form a thick paste. Remember to cook this for 1-2 minutes to ensure the flour is cooked through.
4. Add clam juice, potatoes, and seasonings: Pour the clam juice into the pot, slowly stirring to incorporate the thick onion mix. Add the potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
5. Add clams, heavy cream, and bacon: Once the potatoes are cooked, add the clams and heavy cream to the soup, stirring gently. Cook until the clams are tender, which typically takes about 5 minutes. Finally, add the crispy bacon back into the pot and let it warm up within the chowder.
6. Garnish and serve: Serve the soup hot, garnished with chopped parsley, and enjoy this amazing New England classic with some crusty bread on the side.
History and Curiosities of New England Clam Chowder
The origins of New England Clam Chowder can be traced back to the 18th century, when settlers in the region relied on seafood as a primary source of sustenance. Clams were abundant in the New England coastal waters, making them a popular and affordable option for use in soups and stews.
The word “chowder” itself derives from the French word “chaudiere,” which refers to the large pot used for cooking the soup. Early versions of clam chowder were thick and flavorful, yet it wasn’t until the arrival of French and English settlers that the addition of a milk or cream base became popular, leading to the creamy and comforting dish we know today.
Interestingly, the use of potatoes in clam chowder was not a staple ingredient in the early iterations of the dish. Potatoes became a common addition to the recipe in the 19th century, as this crop was also grown prolifically in New England at the time. To this day, the New England Clam Chowder remains a symbol of culinary pride and history, celebrated nationwide during the annual National Clam Chowder Day on February 25th. Enjoy and appreciate the unique heritage encapsulated within each delicious bowl.