mindy and i loved our time in maine this summer. and we needed a reminder. so we decided to give clam chowder a go. while in maine, we bought marjorie standish's cooking down east, so i figure her recipe is probably as good as any to start with. it was a great recipe. according to mindy, it's the best clam chowder you'll ever make at home. but then we had a couple of challenges. my first issue: indiana. where to get fresh little neck clams? luckily we found some 'on ice' clams at our local grocery store. but they were GIANT and i don't know how fresh they were, but it was our only option in indiana. so in the grocery cart they went.
1 quart of fresh clams (keep as much juice as you can)
4 slices of bacon
1 onion diced
4 cups of chopped potatoes
1 cup of water
salt and pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 quarts of milk
1 tbsp butter
first, cook bacon in a dutch oven until crispy.
remove it, and brown the onions in the bacon fat. coat the onions with the flour.
then add the potatoes and water. add salt and pepper to taste.
bring to a boil. reduce heat and cover.
cook 15 mins or until the potatoes are soft.
prep clams by chopping them into smaller chunks (best to do it by part). the ones we bought were a bitch to work with. they were frozen so i had to steam them open, so some parts got a bit tough. but we'll chalk it up to not living on the coast.
once the potatoes are soft, throw in the cut clams, cover and cook for 3 more minutes.
add the milk and the butter, turn off the heat and allow to cool slowly.
put it in the refrigerator over night to allow the flavors to work together.
reheat slowly at a low temperature, add thyme, top with crumpled up bacon and serve. with oyster crackers, if you like.