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Rhetoretician -- Fiction etc.

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

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Teapot & Hands
amamama    asked for my clam chowder recipe.

My mother was, briefly, a student of James Beard, who (in the days before The Food Network) was considered the authority on American cooking.  The recipe is one of many that she based partially on one of his.  It's the best chowder I've ever had -- although in Michigan you couldn't really get good clams.


  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped clams, including liquor (juice) from chopping
  • 2 slices thickly-sliced bacon, cut in small shreds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • 2 medium potatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups water, salted
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • Cream -- 2 cups light or 1 cup heavy
  • Butter
  • Thyme
  • Chopped parsley
    1. Drain clams of their liquor. Strain liquor through 3 layers of cheesecloth. Rinse clams in cold water. Set clams and liquor aside.
    2. Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to absobant paper.
    3. Add onions to butter in skillet and brown lightly.
    4. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until just tender
    5. Add bacon, onions, clam juice, salt and pepper to potatoes in water. Simmer five minutes.
    6. Add cream; bring to boil.
    7. Correct seasonings. Add clams, and just heat through.

    Serve with a dollop of butter, the merest pinch of thyme, and a bit of chopped parsley in each bowl.
    Serves 6.

    • OMG. My mouth is watering. I must try this.
    • Great! You can add to the amount of clams, by the way; I think of this as a minimum amount.

      Also, the business about the "liquor" was based on the (gasp) canned clams my mother used. I'm not sure you can actually get enough juice from chopping fresh clams to go through the cheesecloth without being completely absorbed by it. But straining is a necessity, as the biggest evil of clam chowder is sand.
    • And on the same topic, as I just told Berte, I'd leave the clams in the broth for a full 10 minutes (on a low simmer) before serving. That "heat through" instruction was probably based on the canned clams, which are already cooked.
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