New England Clam Chowder

Serves: 6
The carrot in this New England clam chowder  isn’t traditional, but I like the color and sweetness it adds.  The wine isn’t traditional either. Traditional or not, this is one hearty chowder. It’s a meal, not a dainty little first-course soup. If you can, make the base early in the day, or even a day ahead, and finish the chowder right before serving.
1 cup water48 littleneck clams, scrubbed3 tbsp unsalted butter4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped1 large onion, minced1 carrot, minced2 celery ribs, minced1 leek (white and light green parts), minced2 tbsp all-purpose flour1 cup dry white wineA handful of parsley stems, 4 sprigs of thyme, and 1 bay leaf, tied together with kitchen spring for an herb bouquet1/2 lb red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and dicedfresh group white pepper2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half1 tbsp chopped fresh dillHalf a lemon


ACCEPT SUBSTITUTES: Two dozen topneck clams will stand in for littlenecks if that's all you can find.1. Bring the water to a boil in a wide deep skillet. Add the clams, cover immediately, and shake the pan. Steam until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander set over a bowl.2. When the clams are cool enough to handle, pull them out of the shells, coarsely chop, and refrigerate, covered. Pour the liquid into a measuring cup—leaving the last tablespoon or so and any grit in the bowl—and add enough water to make 2 cups. Save this for later.3. Put the butter and bacon into a stock pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the bacon has rendered its fat, 2 to 3 minutes (you want to release the smoky flavor, but don’t brown the bacon). Add the onion, carrot, and celery, stir, cover, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the leek, stir, cover again, and cook until it is translucent, about 1 minute.4. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot. Stir in the wine, add the herb bouquet, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then add the reserved clam liquid and the potatoes. Season with white pepper and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let the chowder simmer for 10 minutes. You can finish the chowder now, but it will be much better if you cool it down, cover, and refrigerate it for a few hours, or overnight.5. Remove the herb bouquet and bring the base back to a simmer if necessary. Add the cream or half-and-half and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the clams, chives or parsley, and dill. Check the seasoning.6. Stir in a few squirts of lemon juice and serve.Tune In: Get more from Chef Moonan on World Fishing Journal, episode 5. Watch the full episode hereRecipe from FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT by Rick Moonen & Roy Finamore, copyright @ 2008.   Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.  All rights reserved. 

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