The days are getting a bit warmer and the sun’s staying out a little bit longer, but I’m still feeling the leftover chill of winter. We’ve been taking lots of windy walks and the best way to warm up afterwards is a steaming hot bowl of soup. I pretty much like all soups, but this simple New-England Style chowder with a small sprinkling of clams, corn, celery and carrots reminds me of all good things to come.
The first home-made clam chowder I had wasn’t New-England style (gasp!) It was a Manhattan clam chowder: all tomato-y, spicy, and decidedly un-creamy. It was one of the first things that my brother ever cooked from scratch. The soup was a bit too peppery for my 11 year old palate, but now it’s definitely a family favourite. It’s “his” soup, the soup that he’ll always make whenever we head over for dinner and he’s cooking.
Personally, I lean more towards New-England style clam chowder if I have the choice. I love the creaminess with the salty sea taste of the clams. Add some toasted or grilled bread for dipping and I’m set! This is an easy, quick, spring version: lots of vegetables and just enough clams makes this soup light and refreshing.
Clam Chowder Recipe
- 1 lb fresh clams, scrubbed and soaked
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup each: diced carrots, celery, corn, potatoes
2 cups clam water from steaming clams
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
In a stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the potatoes, corn and thyme and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well, until vegetables are coated and there are no flour pockets, about 1-2 minutes. Add the clam water in a steady stream and stir throughly. Let the soup come to a simmer and thicken, about 20 minutes.
While the soup is thickening, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot over high heat. Add the clams and cover. Cook until clams open, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a cutting board, discarding any that did not open. Save the water to use in the chowder. Remove clams from shells and add to the chowder. Stir in the milk and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!