Sunday, January 30, 2011


Cook's Illustrated


Serves 8. From The Best Soups and Stews.

This variation uses a total of three bottle of clam juice. two bottles are used to supplement the juice from the canned clams in place of broth from fresh clams. This soup will hold for two days. Reheat over a low flame, being sure not to boil the chowder, which will toughen the clams.

5cans clams (6 1/2 ounces each), choped, juice drained and reserved
2slices thick-cut bacon (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1large Spanish onion , chopped small
1small red bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and chopped small
1medium carrot , chopped small
1stalk celery , chopped small
4medium garlic cloves , minced
1teaspoon dried oregano
1/2cup dry white wine
3(8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 1/4pounds Yukon Gold potatoes , peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1large bay leaf
2(14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper
2tablespoons fresh parsley leaves , chopped


  1. 1. Fry the bacon in the empty pot over medium-low heat until the fat renders and the bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, carrot, and celery, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. 2. Add the wine and raise heat to high. Boil the wine until it reduces by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved canned clam juices, 3 bottles clam juice, potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot. Simmer to release potato starch, about 2 minutes.

  3. 4. Add the tomatoes, bring back to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in the reserved chopped clams and season with salt and pepper to taste; discard the bay leaf. (Chowder can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot.) Stir in parsley and ladle the chowder into individual bowls. Serve immediately.


Scrubbing Clams

Use a soft brush, sometimes sold in kitchen shops as a vegetable brush, to scrub away any bits of sand trapped in the shell.


Releasing Starch from Potatoes

Once the potatoes are tender, use the back of a wooden spoon to press some of the potatoes against the side of the pot. This released more starch and helps thicken the chowder.


Preparing the Steamed Clams

1. Steam clams until just open, at right, rather than completely open, as shown at left.

2. Open clams with a paring knife, holding over a bowl to catch juices.

3. Sever the muscle under the clam and remove it from the shell.

America's Test Kitchen

America’s Test Kitchen is a 2,500-square-foot kitchen located just outside of Boston. It is the home of Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated magazines and is the workday destination for more than three dozen test cooks, editors, and cookware specialists. Our mission is to test recipes until we understand how and why they work and arrive at the best version. We also test kitchen equipment and supermarket ingredients in search of brands that offer the best value and performance. You can watch us work by tuning in to America’s Test Kitchen ( on public television.

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