Char’s New England Clam Chowder

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FinalFinalChowder

This creamy chowder is one of my favourites and I love that it’s thickened by mashing the cooked vegetables to a desired chunkiness rather than using a thickener, making this hearty soup gluten free as well.  Our butchers have taken care to source Ocean Mama clams from a Vancouver based company that are Ocean Wise certified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

6 slices Lepp’s bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
5 large potatoes (about 2 ½  pounds), cubed
2-3 stalks celery, chopped (add the leafy bits from the middle if you’ve got them)
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups Lepp’s chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. Chesapeake Bay Seasoning (similar to Old Bay Seasoning but has all the ingredients listed, and salt isn’t the first one!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. Little Saigon Gluten Free fish sauce (I add this to the soup because the clams are not packed in liquid.  Trust me on this one! If you’re using tinned clams, use liquid from tins in place of fish sauce)

 340 gm. package Ocean’s Mama Clam Meat, chopped and thawed
These clams are quite large and I prefer smaller pieces in my soup.  Chopping them on a cutting board is easy to do if they’re still partially frozen.  Lepp Farm Market selected this brand because it’s Ocean Wise and states “no sand” on the package so doesn’t need to be rinsed.
2 cups whole milk, evaporated milk or whipping cream
I love Agassiz’s “The Farm House” whole milk which has been low temperature pasteurized but is not homogenized, the cream is floating on the top like old-fashioned milk!  Using whole milk or whipping cream means the milk won’t separate, or “curdle” if the chowder starts to  boil.  

 

Method

In a large pot or stock pot, saute bacon until slightly crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving bacon grease in pan.  Add onions, carrots and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add Chesapeake Bay Seasoning and saute about 2 minutes, which allows the spices to bloom, or release their peak flavours.  Add potatoes, cooked bacon and stock and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  With a potato masher, mash ingredients in pot to a desired “chunkiness”.  I like to still see some pieces of veggies in mine, but it’s personal preference.
Add clams and milk or whipping cream and bring to a gentle simmer.  Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Note:  You may use milk but if the chowder reaches a boil the milk will separate or appear curdled.  It’s still fine to eat, but just doesn’t look as appetizing.