New England-style clam chowder and crackers


  • Serves 6 people

Chowders are so satisfying in winter and it's the ideal time of year for many shellfish, too. There are many varieties of chowder in the US, but the New England style is a favourite. Crackers can be crumbled in to thicken it, or you can just dip them in as you go.

  • 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 200 gm rindless bacon, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 120 ml dry white wine
  • 1 kg clams, soaked in cold water for 1 hour to remove grit
  • 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock
  • 750 gm Desiree potatoes (about 3), quartered and thickly sliced
  • 125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 skinless bream fillets (400gm), pin-boned and cut into 3cm-4cm pieces
  • 12 scallops, white muscle trimmed
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
  • To serve: saltine crackers
01   Melt butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add bacon, celery and onion, and sauté until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).
02   Meanwhile, bring wine to the boil in a separate large saucepan over high heat. Add clams, cover with a lid and shake pan occasionally until they open (2-3 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve, set clams aside to cool slightly and add cooking liquid to the bacon mixture along with the stock. Remove the clam meat from most of the shells, reserving a few in shells to garnish.
03   Bring stock mixture to the boil over medium-high heat, add potato, cream and bay leaf, and simmer uncovered until potato is tender, coarsely breaking it up potato with a wooden spoon the towards end of cooking (15-20 minutes). Add bream, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until bream is almost cooked through (4-5 minutes). Add scallops and simmer until almost cooked (1 minute), then stir in parsley and reserved clams and clam meat and season to taste. Serve hot, scattered with extra parsley and with saltine crackers for dipping or breaking over.
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