We all have those “pull dinner out of a hat” nights–some of us more often than others. Those nights when the nagging question of “What’s for dinner?” has been answered with “I don’t know,” more times than you can count. There’s no meat defrosting on the counter and not a single fresh vegetable to be found in the back of the refrigerator drawer.
If it’s not Sesame Noodles that I turn to, New England Clam Chowder is there for me in a pinch. Years ago I started with a basic recipe that I’ve been playing of of ever since. Chopped carrots, frozen peas, sweet corn kernels and pearl onions have all found their way into my chowder. Sometimes I substitute whole milk for the heavy cream and vegetable broth for the chicken stock.
For the purpose of this post, I returned to my original source Dave Lieberman’s New England Clam Chowder and made only minor alterations. His recipe says that it makes 6-8 servings but it serves only four in my house so feel free to double.
If you’re truly scraping the bottom of your pantry/fridge, this soup can stand on its own. When I have the time, I like to add a crusty baguette (or some crowd-pleasing oyster crackers) and a simple green salad.
Dinner is served. Enjoy!
- 2 Tbls unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 c chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
- 1 c heavy cream
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbls freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and celery and saute until softened, mixing often.
- Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 3 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender.
- Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Note: The clam broth is salty so be sure to taste before adding additional salt). Cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.
- If desired, garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
- Recipe can be easily doubled.