Around the realfoodtraveler.com offices, we’re big clam chowder fans. When we heard that Feb. 25 is National Clam Chowder Day, we just had to offer this delectable, authentic Cape Cod Clam Chowder recipe. It comes courtesy of Executive Chef Glenn MacNayer of Red’s Restaurant & Lounge at Cape Cod’s beloved Sea Crest Beach Hotel.
This recipe makes one gallon of soup. Around our offices, that’s the perfect amount. However, if that’s too much for you, simply cut in half. The recipe also calls for fresh littleneck clams. You can use any small clam and, if you can’t get fresh clams, you can always substitute canned clams.
Red’s Cape Cod Clam Chowder
Yields: 1 gallon (8-12 portions)
• 1 pound fresh chopped littleneck clams
• 2 cups clam juice
• 1 cup Chablis wine
• 1 bunch celery diced small
• 1 large celery root diced small
• 1 large Vidalia onion diced small
• 5 cloves garlic sliced thin
• 4 large Maine potatoes diced ¼” by ¼” (or other waxy potatoes like yellow or red)
• 1 pound Portuguese chorizo diced small
• ½ lb. apple smoked bacon diced small
• 1 bunch fresh thyme
• 4 fresh laurel (aka bay) leaves (if you don’t have access to fresh, use 2 dry bay leaves)
• Kosher salt to taste
• Fresh ground black pepper to taste
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• ½ cup unsalted butter
• 2 quarts extra heavy cream
• Tabasco to taste
You will need a heavy gauge pot with a thick bottom. Sauté the bacon, chorizo, onions, celery and garlic together with the butter.
Wrap the thyme and fresh bay leaves with cheesecloth (called a bouquet garni.) Add the bouquet garni and cook until bacon and sausage have been rendered down (the fat is completely melted) and the vegetables are translucent and tender.
Add the flour and continue to sauté until flour is completely incorporated in the fat.
Add wine, clam juice and potatoes and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. The potatoes should be tender and the liquid reduced by half.
Add the cream, salt, pepper, Tabasco and chopped clams. Cook for another 20 minutes on low heat.
Check and adjust seasoning to your taste. Serve with a few littlenecks lightly steamed in the shell and some toasted bread.