First you need to get yourself a bag of these. I supplemented them with some canned ones as well because I like things good and clammy, but you do need about 12 of these guys for maximum clam wonderfulness.
Now cook up some bacon in a Dutch oven. Yup, bacon. I like bacon in my chilled clam chowder and you will too. Set the cooked bacon aside, but save the drippings! We’re going to saute some shallots in the bacon drippings, and then add potatoes, chopped celery, clam juice, and wine. Simmer everything up until the potatoes are tender. Next add in some some canned clams and a little Old Bay and simmer a little more. A little cream, a little more simmering and let the whole thing cool down just enough so we can puree it up. You can either do this in your food processor, or with an immersion blender. I do love my immersion blender. Click here for the one I have – it’s magical. Either way, if you like your chowder completely smooth, you should puree all of it. If you like some chunky bits here and there (and I do!), scoop about about a cup of the solids before pureeing, and then return them to the pot post-pureeing. (That’s a word, right? Post-pureeing?). Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Now comes the hardest part. Put the whole thing in the fridge for at least three hours to chill it on down. Or longer – you can make this in the morning and come back at suppertime and there it will be, chilled and marvelous.
Now stir those clams (the ones from the shells!) into the soup and ladle it into chilled bowls. Sprinkle the soup with some chopped fresh parsley and the reserved bacon and give it one more grinding of pepper.
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 12 littleneck clams
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups clam juice
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Two 6.5 oz cans chopped clams
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Steam clams: Place ½ cup water and ½ cup white wine in deep skillet and bring to a simmer. Add clams, cover and cook over medium high heat until the shells are open (discard any that don't open). Cool and remove clam meat and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Cook bacon until done in a Dutch oven or other heavy deep pot. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside until ready to use (I usually pop it in the fridge and take it out an hour or so before serving the soup).
- Cook the shallots in the pan with the bacon drippings over medium heat until soft, about five minutes. Add clam juice, remaining wine and potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add canned clams and Old Bay and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Add cream and simmer for another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool for about 10-15 minutes.
- If you like your soup a little bit chunky, scoop about about a cup of the solids, then puree the rest with an immersion blender or in your food processor (and if you like it smooth, puree the whole thing!). Return the solids to the soup and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Put the bowls you are serving it in into the fridge as well.
- When ready to serve, stir in the clams from the shells, ladle soup into the chilled bowls, garnish with bacon and parsley and another grinding of fresh pepper and serve at once!