Hands-on time: 45 min­utes To­tal time: 1¼ hours Makes: 8 serv­ings

Canadian Living Comfort Food - - Soups & Stews -

The se­cret to mak­ing this dish ul­ti­mately de­li­cious is sim­ple: Leave the cans on the shelf and use only fresh East Coast clams. For an even more spec­tac­u­lar chow­der, serve it in bread bowls you make by hol­low­ing out small round loaves or ex­tra-large crusty ham­burger buns.

2.25 kg fresh lit­tle­neck clams

6 strips ba­con, diced

1 tbsp but­ter

2 shal­lots, diced

1 rib cel­ery, diced

2 cloves gar­lic, minced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

⅓ cup all-pur­pose flour

550 g yel­low-fleshed pota­toes

(about 2), peeled and diced

½ tsp pep­per

½ cup dry sherry

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp Worces­ter­shire sauce

1½ cups 18% cream

2 tbsp each chopped fresh chives and fresh pars­ley

Scrub clams; dis­card any that do not close when tapped. In Dutch oven or large heavy-bot­tomed saucepan, bring clams and 1 cup wa­ter to boil over high heat. Re­duce heat to medium, cover and cook un­til clams have opened, about 10 min­utes.

Dis­card any clams that do not open. Us­ing slot­ted spoon, trans­fer re­main­ing clams to bowl. Set aside.

Strain cook­ing liq­uid through cheese­cloth­lined fine-mesh sieve into bowl; pour into liq­uid mea­sure. Add enough wa­ter to yield 3½ cups. Set aside.

Re­move meat from all but 8 of the clams; coarsely chop meat. Re­frig­er­ate chopped clam meat and re­main­ing clams un­til ready to use.

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bot­tomed saucepan, cook ba­con over medium heat, stir­ring of­ten, un­til crisp, about 10 min­utes. Us­ing slot­ted spoon, trans­fer ba­con to bowl. Set aside.

Drain all but 2 tbsp fat from pan. Add but­ter; melt over medium heat. Cook shal­lots and cel­ery, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til soft­ened, about 8 min­utes. Add gar­lic, thyme and bay leaf; cook, stir­ring fre­quently, un­til fra­grant, about 1 minute. Sprin­kle in flour; cook, stir­ring fre­quently, for 1 minute.

Grad­u­ally whisk in re­served cook­ing liq­uid. Stir in pota­toes and pep­per; bring to boil. Re­duce heat, cover and sim­mer, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til pota­toes are fork-ten­der, about 20 min­utes.

Dis­card thyme and bay leaf. Stir in sherry, lemon juice and Worces­ter­shire sauce; bring to sim­mer. Cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 5 min­utes. Stir in cream, chopped clam meat and ba­con; cook un­til heated through, about 3 min­utes. Stir in chives and pars­ley.

La­dle chow­der into serv­ing bowls; top with re­served clams.

PER SERV­ING: about 292 cal, 12 g pro, 16 g to­tal fat (8 g sat. fat), 23 g carb (1 g di­etary fi­bre, 3 g sugar), 60 mg chol, 437 mg sodium, 653 mg potas­sium. % RD I: 9% cal­cium, 56% iron, 15% vit A, 22% vit C, 13% fo­late.

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