This recipe calls for two kinds of potatoes, Yukon Gold to give the soup body and consistency, and waxy potatoes to provide solid pieces that are good to bite into.
– 2 dozen chowder clams.
– 2 cups water or fish broth for steaming clams2 onions, finely chopped, or 4 leeks, white part only, cleaned and thinly sliced.
– 2 tablespoons butter.
– 1 quart fish broth, steaming liquid from clams or mussels saved from other recipes, or water, or a combination.
– 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and thinly sliced.
– 2 white or red waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice.
– 1 cup heavy cream.
– 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives (optional).
Step 1:Scrub the clams energetically so any dead ones will fall apart in your hand, and rinse thoroughly. Select a pot large enough so that the clams will reach no higher than two-thirds up the sides. Pour the water into the pot, add the clams, cover the pot, place over low to medium heat, and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the clams open. Use a spider or skimmer to transfer the clams to a large bowl. Remove the clams from their shells, cut each clam into 2 or 3 pieces, and set aside. Set the pot with the liquid aside.
Step 2:In a pot large enough to hold the soup, cook the onions in the butter over medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, or until they soften but do not brown. Carefully pour the clam steaming liquid into the pot, leaving any grit behind. Add the broth and Yukon Gold potato, bring to a gentle simmer, and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the potato slices are completely soft.
Step 3:Puree the soup with a blender (see precautions), or work it through a coarse-mesh strainer or a food mill fitted with the coarse disk into a clean pot.
Step 4:Add the waxy potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the clams and cream, bring to a gentle simmer, and season with salt and pepper. Add the chives just before serving.