The secret to this clam chowder is the clam stock. It is worth the extra time it takes to make it. Use what you need and freeze the rest for future use. Serves 10
10 cups clam stock (recipe follows)
2 pounds red potatoes
3-4 cups chopped clams (I used a 51 oz. can)
1/3 pound of smoky bacon, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 cup butter
1 cup of flour
2 pints half-and-half
Dash hot pepper sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Bring the potatoes and the clam stock to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the clams and any of their liquid. Cook about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Add the bacon to a saute pan and cook over low heat until rendered. Add the onions and dill and cook until transparent. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the flour and cook until slightly colored. Add a bit more flour if necessary if the mixture is too soft. Bring the clams, juice and potatoes back to a boil. Gradually stir in the cooked roux. Bring to a rolling boil to thicken. Stir continuously while cooking. Add the half-and-half; the soup should be thick. Adjust the seasoning and add a dash of hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce before serving.
CINDYLOU’S CLAM STOCK
Make approx. 8 quarts
1/2 cup butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small handful fresh thyme (stems and all)
1/2 bottle “Schmidt Family Vineyard’s Chardonnay)
5-6 pounds steamer clams
4 quarts water
1 teaspoon sea salt
Melt butter on medium heat. Add garlic and fresh thyme. Saute until soft, approximately 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add steamer clams, cover and cook on simmer until opened. Add 4 quarts of water cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard shells and simmer another 15 minutes to reduce slightly. Stir in 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and strain stock through a sieve.
Note: I still like to save the clam meat. Even though they are over cooked, they do make a nice stack. 🙂