There is no other dish as symbolic to a region than New England clam chowder…look, it’s even in the name itself! And without referring to the region, one would still probably assume that we’re talking about the cream-based version. Introduced and popularized in the late 1700s and early 1800s, fisherman settling in the New England states spread their chowder recipes with clams along the Northeastern coast. Over the years many newer versions and spin-offs were created from other locally sourced and influenced variants, and the Maine legislature in 1939 even proposed laws prohibiting the use of tomatoes in chowders, thus almost eliminating the presence of the Manhattan version.
- ½ Lb Thick Sliced Bacon, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
- 3 Celery Stalks, rinsed and finely chopped
- 1 ½ C Chicken Stock (or seafood stock or clam juice)
- 2 Large Potatoes, skinned and cubed into ½” pieces
- 1 Tbsp crab seasoning (old bay)
- 2 tsp Celery Seed
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 4 C Milk
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 Cans (6oz) Chopped Littleneck Clams, drained into pot with stock
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
Melt butter on medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add bacon and stir while cooking for about 5-6 minutes, until bacon begins to brown slightly. Add the onion and celery, and cook for another 5-6 minutes, until softened. Add stock (and clam juices), cover and bring to a simmer. Add crab seasoning, celery seed, garlic powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, then add milk and potatoes. Stir, cover, and cook for another 20 minutes. Test the potatoes to make sure that they are soft and cooked through. Add clams and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add cream, remove from heat, and stir until chowder ingredients are incorporated throughout.