I love New England clam chowder. Every time I go to a restaurant and they have clam chowder, I have to try it. In all my years living on the east coast and the west coast, I think that Legal Seafood’s New England Clam Chowder is the best. It is purely potatoes, clams, onions and is not excessively gluey and thick. Nor does it have celery or herbs that take away from the soup itself.
There are no Legal Seafood restaurants on the west coast, so I found the recipe that was originally published in their recipe book and is on multiple places on the web. One of the key challenges to making it is 1) finding littleneck clams and 2) making fish stock. The fish stock recipe calls for pounds and pounds of fish frames. I wanted to make the recipe actually convenient to make rather than an onerous task.
I found concentrated fish stock online at Amazon.com. It is called: Fumet de Poisson Gold
You can find fish stock concentrate at some gourmet grocery stores, but I couldn’t find the Poisson version at our Whole Foods, so I decided to try this. I also bought shucked clams and clam juice in place of the little neck clams. I found the shucked clams ended up too tough, so I’d recommend if you really wanted to make this to go for the littleneck clams.
I also added in the clams too early, so you should only add in the clams when you are ready to heat and serve. Do not boil or the clams will be tough.
Recipe: Legal Seafood’s New England Clam Chowder
Summary: Recipe from “The Legal Seafoods Cookbook”
- 4 quarts Littleneck clams, well-scrubbed
- 1 cup water
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 ounces salt pork, finely chopped
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups fish stock
- 1 ½ lbs potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups light cream or 1 cup heavy cream+1cup whole milk
- Clean the clams and place them in a large pot along with the garlic and water. Steam the clams just until opened, about 6 to 10 minutes, depending upon their size. Drain and shell the clams, reserving the broth. Mince the clam flesh, and set aside. Filter the clam broth either through coffee filters or cheesecloth and set aside.
- In a large, heavy pot slowly render the salt pork. Remove the cracklings and set them aside. Slowly cook the onions in the fat for about 6 minutes stirring frequently, or until cooked through but not browned. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Add the reserved clam broth and fish stock, and whisk to remove any flour lumps. Bring the liquid to boil, add the potatoes, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the light cream and heat. When you are ready to serve, add in reserved clams and salt-pork cracklings (optional – I don’t recall having cracklings in my chowder when I had it in Boston). Heat the chowder until it is the temperature you prefer. Serve in large soup bowls with oyster crackers on the side.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8