Clam chowder is one of those dishes for which there are a hundred different versions, though everyone will tell you that theirs is the only legitimate one. Cream or milk? Carrots and celery or only potatoes? Bay leaf? Flour? And on and on. This is my version of clam chowder. Some New Englanders may shudder at my use of paprika, but I like the spicy kick. Feel free to play around.
- Three 8-ounce bottles clam juice
- 1 pound starchy potatoes (such as Idaho or Russet) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 5 (6.5) ounce cans of clams, diced, juices reserved
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (optional)
Combine potatoes and clam juice in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown, about 8 minutes. Remove bacon from pot and place on paper towels to drain. Dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Melt butter in pot, then add onions and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently until onions until translucent, about 7 minutes.
Stir in flour and whisk constantly until roux has thickened, about two minutes. Add clams and their juice, potatoes mixture, bacon, milk, cream, and paprika. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer gently until lightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with chopped parsley if desired.