Clam Chowder, adapted from "Maine Classics" by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier
Perhaps no other dish evokes New England as much as Clam Chowder does. In Bethia's time, the clams of Martha's Vineyard were likely a big part of her diet, and if she had a diary cow, this chowder could have been easy to make. The recipe below is somewhat improvised by me, I review the Clam Chowder from many sources looking for one that seemed just right. In the end this is most closely adapted from a recipe by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, chefs and owners of one of my favorite Maine restaurants, MC Perkins Cove (along with the uber fancy and fabulous Arrows). I wanted to avoid using flour or cornstarch as a thickener so as a result this is a thinner chowder than you may get a a typical New England clam shack. It is made a little fancy with the edition of type, but this is of course a simple, hearty dish that lets the clams shine. While the dish is simple, it is very rich, a little goes a long way.
5 slices of bacon, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup clam juice
1 cup milk
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 and 1/2 cups chopped clams, juices reserved, plus two cups clams in shells.
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
- Saute bacon in a dutch oven until browned and crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels.
- Add onions to the bacon fat and cook until translucent, add the thyme and the clam juice and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the milk and the potatoes and cook until tender.
- Add the chopped clams and cook until tender, about 5 - 10 minutes.
- Add the cream and the clams in shells and cook until the shells open.
- Add the reserved juice from the chopped clams and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the reserved bacon and serve.