Sometimes I get this crazy-insane need for something. An all-encompassing desire for a particular dish. To scratch the itch, I’ll go out to a restaurant for it and if its a good day and all the stars align, I’m sated. But more often than not, I’m left thinking, “I’m just going to have to make this myself.” Ive never made clam chowder, and the best chowder Ive had this far inland was made by a chef I worked with once. I’ve not seen or spoken to her in years but I searched the files of my brain to replay the day I remember tasting the best clam chowder ever.
I was probably making bread pudding or sandwiching cookies and ice cream together when it was Chef’s turn to make soup. I paid little attention to what she put in it at the time, but for some reason as I was thinking about it, every ingredient she put in it came to mind–although it might have also been crossed with another chowder she made, so I’m pretty sure if its not the exact elements of her clam chowder, it has the elements of some other chowder. Either way, I made some damn good chowder.
New England Clam Chowder (gluten-free of course!)
1 ½ oz bacon, minced
½ cup yellow onion, small dice
¾ cup celery, ¼” slice
2 cups Yukon gold or red potatoes, large dice
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp black pepper
8 fl oz clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
2 (6.5oz) cans chopped clams, juice reserved
1 Tbsp Arrowroot powder
¾ tsp-1 tsp sherry vinegar
- In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Add the onions and celery and cook just until softened.
- Stir in the potatoes, seasoning and clam juice (both the bottled and reserved from the can) and bring to a boil, cooking the potatoes until they are fork tender. Add the heavy cream and bring to a heavy simmer, then stir in the clams.
- Make a slurry with the arrowroot and 1 tablespoon of water. While stirring quickly, add half of the slurry and let the mixture bubble for 30 seconds. Add the remaining slurry for a thicker consistency. Add additional water, vegetable broth or clam juice if needed.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, then stir in the vinegar. Taste again. Serve hot.