Creamy, Thick, Delicious
Both of my parents were born and raised in and around Boston so you know we have the best family clam chowder recipe. But we don't. Wait, what!? Nope. I asked my cousins for their "family recipe" and no one had one. Again, what?! They still live in Boston!!
I obviously have to take matters into my own hands and develop a recipe worthy of the title "family recipe" -- so here's my latest version. It's not quite perfect but it's getting there. I have used the delicious Captain Parker's Pub clam chowder as my role model. A landmark in Cape Cod, overlooking the Parker River in West Yarmouth, MA (where my grandmother, Caroline Paquette, lived), Captain Parker's has the best, award-winning, clam chowder I've ever had. If you're going down the Cape, stop in for a cup.
So give this a try and stay tuned...it keeps getting better!
2 large russet potatoes
8 Tbsp. butter, divided (2 Tbsp./6 Tbsp.)
6 Tbsp. flour
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 stalk celery, chopped
4 strips bacon
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. minced, jarred garlic)
1 6.5-oz. can chopped clams plus juice
1 10-oz. can fancy clams plus juice
1 8-oz. bottle clam juice
1/2 cup chicken or seafood stock
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 bay leaf
2 cups half-n-half
Cook potatoes in salted water until slightly tender, drain. Set aside. (They will finish cooking when added back to chowder.)
In a large stockpot, cook bacon, over medium/medium high heat until crisp-tender. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve. Add 2 Tbsp. butter to stockpot and stir in chopped onion and celery. Cook until just tender. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.
Add 6 additional Tbsp. butter to stockpot and heat to a light boil. Sprinkle 6 Tbsp. flour over onions and butter and whisk for 3-5 minutes (you are making a light roux). Add reserved clam juice and bottle clam juice gradually, whisking constantly (you are making a [clam] Béchamel) until well combined. Continue whisking and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken stock, potatoes and spices. Cook on low for 15-30 minutes to tenderize the potatoes and give the spices a chance to 'bloom'.
Before serving, add clams, bacon and half-n-half and heat through.
Serve with oyster crackers and maybe a Red Lobster Cheddar-Bay Bisquit! Like it spicy, add a dash of hot sauce. Sprinkle of cheese perhaps?
This is the Nagle/Paquette Family Clam Chowder Recipe. So far.