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Chasin’ Craving’s Creamy Clam Chowder

It is a pretty big challenge for two people to eat 100 topneck clams in one sitting!!! A friend of the family runs a large seafood distribution company in Miami. We were able to pick up 100 clams for $42 while down in Florida. We love clams, but eating all of them in one sitting was a complete fail. We had about 40 clams left over, so I decided to create my own take on New England clam chowder (and yes the clams were actually from New England)! Here is a great recipe that will make 2 to 3 quarts of soup. It seems like a lot, but once you taste it you will be happy you have some to freeze and have later.

Ingredients:
40 live topneck clams (30 for the soup and 10 for garnish)
4 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups half and half
3 tablespoons flour
3 celery stalks
2 large carrots
1/2 sweet onion
6 russet potatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 teaspoons chives
4 slices bacon cooked or bacon bits
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Oyster crackers

Instructions:
Fill a large pot with 4 cups of water and add the clams. Cook for about 10 minutes on high, covered and remove the clams as they begin to open while keeping the pot covered as much as possible. Once all of the clams are cooked, pour the liquid through a cheese cloth and strainer to remove any sand and excess particles. Reserve the liquid for use later.

Finely chop the onions and coarsely chop the celery and carrots. Peel and cube the potatoes into bite size pieces. In a large soup pot, heat about two turns of olive oil, then add the onions. Allow to cook for about 8 minutes, then add the potatoes. Cook the potatoes for 10 minutes and then add 3 tablespoons of flour. Incorporate and cook the flour until it begins to smell toasted. Next, add the reserved liquid from cooking the clams, the carrots and the celery. Add 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 cups of half and half, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and cover. Bring to a slow boil on medium to medium high heat and then simmer on low for about 1 hour.

Make sure to taste test for flavor ever 20 minutes to determine if you wish to remove the thyme. Also, stir occasionally and check the potatoes so you do not overcook them.

While the soup is cooking, mince the clams that were cooked earlier. Also, steam the remaining 10 clams in a double boiler for about 10 minutes or until they open. After 1 hour, check the potatoes and make sure they are cooked enough for your liking. Finally, season with salt and pepper and add the minced clams. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes to warm the clams.

Serve with oyster crackers and garnish with chopped chives, bacon and a steamed clam. Enjoy this hearty and delicious New England clam chowder all year round!

Follow your tummy…
-Jess

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