- 1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon (5 slices)
- 1 cup bottled clam juice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 40 cherrystone clams (about 8 pounds), scrubbed and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium onions, very coarsely chopped
- 3 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cobs
- 2 1/4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 5 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; reserve the bacon fat in the skillet. Crumble the bacon coarsely.
- In a stockpot, combine the clam juice, wine and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and simmer over moderately high heat until the clams open, about 8 minutes. Transfer the clams to a large bowl and discard any unopened ones.
- Strain the clam broth through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Rinse out the stockpot. Remove the clams from their shells and coarsely chop them.
- In the stockpot, melt the butter with 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the corn and potatoes and cook, stirring often, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the clam broth, cover and simmer until the corn and potatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped clams, milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into bowls, sprinkle with the bacon and serve.
The clam chowder can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
A light Chardonnay will provide a cleansing contrast to this rich soup. Try one from South Africa.