Recipe by The Late Night Gourmet
I was born in Boston, so seeing the snowstorms burying my city has me thinking of something to warm the soul.There's nothing better than clam chowder for that, which my ma's family would call "chowdah". My ma grew up in Waltham, and I used to visit from time to time when I was a kid. I like my chowder thick, so feel free to scale back the cornstarch if you prefer it thinner. This recipe is inspired by a similar recipe by Ina Garten. Using light butter and skim milk keeps the calories down without compromising on taste. Leave out the bacon if you want to keep it light!
- 12 tablespoons light butter, divided
- 1⁄2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup leek, chopped (white bulb part only)
- 2 cups celery, 1/4-inch slices (4 stalks)
- 1 lb russet potato, 1/2-inch chunks
- 1⁄2 teaspoon powdered thyme
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 quart clam juice
- 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups skim milk
- 30 ounces baby clams
Directions See How It's Made
- Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of the butter in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add the onions and leeks and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the celery, potatoes, thyme, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 more minutes.
- Cook 4 strips of bacon until crispy, saving the grease. Pat bacon dry and chop finely, then add to the pot. If desired, also add the bacon grease and stir to thoroughly coat the vegetables.
- Add the clam juice, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- In a small pot, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and whisk in the cornstarch. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The cornstarch will turn into a paste, so you may have to switch to a spatula, scraping the paste off frequently as you stir. Whisk in a cup of the hot broth and then pour this mixture back into the cooked vegetables.
- Simmer for a few minutes until the broth is thickened.
- Add the milk and clams and heat gently for a few minutes. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.