New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder
By Kevin Berardinelli
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 40 min
Cooking Time: 8-10 hours or overnight

Description
Another great crock pot recipe, being made for the AFC Championship game between the Pats and Colts, 1/21/07. Adaptations were made to a recipe delivered from Sharon Boucher, my friend Gavin’s mother who made the best clam chowder I had ever tasted.

Ingredients
2 Cans Minced Clams
1 Can Chopped Clams
3 Bottles Clam Juice
5 Strips of Bacon
1 Large Yellow Onion
3 Regular Baking Potatoes
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn
1 Pint Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
Ground Black Pepper
Old Bay Seasoning

Directions
First thing to do is to cook the bacon in a frying pan until some parts are crispy, and some are softer. Set these strips aside on paper towels to soak up some of the grease, and carefully drain most of the grease from the pan. Now add the minced onion and chopped potato to the same pan, and cook for a few minutes while it gets some of the flavors from the bacon. You should also break up the bacon at this point into small pieces (works best by hand) and add back to the pan mixture.

Next you can add this mixture (while potatoes are still firm) to the crock pot. Then simply add the clams (with juice from can) and the clam juice (from bottles) and the corn (drained) to the crock pot, and mix gently. Season with fresh ground black pepper and Old bay seasoning, if available. Cook on high for 20-30 min, then keep on low for the extended period of time, being at least a good 6-8 hours. I cooked mine overnight for a total of 14 hours, stirring every 30 min or so.

In addition, there is a thickening part, which depends on your personal preference. Somewhere along the way, anywhere from the beginning to the last hour of cooking, you need to add the heavy cream. This gives it the distinctive chowder color and some thicker broth. You also can add any amount of flour. The important thing is to sift it good to make sure you get no lumps in the chowder, because they will stay as lumps throughout. I added 1/2 cup of flour to the heavy cream and mixed before adding. I also sifted in a little more to the crock pot until I got my desired broth thickness. Finally, add additional seasoning, to taste. Letting it sit and come together for an extended period of time is also good, if time and hunger permit.

Garnish With: Black Pepper and Old Bay
Serve With: Fresh bread or Buttery Biscuits
Drink: Lots

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