The way I see it, the best Soups fall into two categories; the throw everything into a pot and walk away (Tuscan style) or the carefully layered, strained, simmered production. My New England clam chowder recipe is def the latter and may be time consuming, but well worth the effort.
2 dozen clams (Cherrystone preferably)
3 Medium Potatoes
2 slices of Bacon
1 large diced Onion
1.5 cups ½ & ½
1.5 cups Whole Milk
1.5 cup Water
1.5 cup Dry White Wine
1.5 cup fresh Clam Juice
3 Tablespoons of unsalted Butter
1 Bay Leaf
Clean your clams by first soaking them in cold fresh water for 2o mins. Remove by hand from the water and brush clean. Put your clams in a large stockpot with 1 cup of water and cover for approx 10mins. Once opened, remove clams and let cool. You now have 1.5 cups of clam juice to set aside. Wash your stock put and bring back to the stovetop.
Render strips of Bacon on a low heat. Set aside the bacon to garnish a salad or to rekindle with the soup later. Add butter and the diced onions. On a medium/low heat sauté the onions until tender and transparent. Add the Wine, Clam Juice, Cubed and peeled Potatoes, fresh Thyme and Bay Leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the Potatoes are just cooked, about 20-25 mins. Bring the soup back to a medium boil and simmer again. This time adding your chopped fresh clams, milk, ½ & ½ , Tobasco to taste, Tomato paste, Salt and lot’s of fresh cracked Pepper. Stir in the ingredients and simmer for another 10 mins. Final step, bring the soup back to a medium boil. Turn off the heat and add the dry Sherry. This will beautifully perfume your soup.