Clam Chowder for a Crowd

IMG_0071Clam chowder and summer entertaining seem to go hand in hand here on the Cape. Having a simple, great recipe for clam chowder has made entertaining easier for me, and I wanted to share it.

This recipe is adapted from a Cooks Illustrated recipe for chowder using canned clams. It’s really easy to put together; it’s better if made the day before and reheated, and it keeps well in a crock pot—which adds up to make it the perfect party food.

The original recipe makes six bowl-size servings. The following recipe has been doubled and will make twelve generous bowls or many more cups of chowder served as part of a buffet.

Ingredients

8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 large onions , diced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
8 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams; drain and reserve clam juice
2 cups water
6 medium waxy  potatoes (about 3 pounds), medium diced
3  bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups heavy cream (or Half and Half )
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Fry diced bacon in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-low heat until the bacon crisps.
2. Add the onions to the bacon. Sauté until softened.
3. Add flour; stir for about a minute until lightly colored. Gradually whisk in the combined liquid (bottled clam juice, reserved juice from clams and water).
4. Add the potatoes, bay leaves and thyme; simmer until potatoes are tender.
5. Add clams, cream, salt and ground pepper to taste. Simmer until heated through.

At this point, I let it cool a bit; transfer it to a 4-quart container and refrigerate it until the next day. On the day of the party, I slowly reheat the chowder in a Dutch oven on the stove. If I use Half and Half instead of heavy cream, I combine 2 TBS softened butter and 2 TBS flour and add the mixture to the hot chowder to thicken it somewhat. Check to see if you need additional salt and/or pepper. The chowder can then be transferred to a crock pot set on low. Set out a bowl of oyster crackers and you’re in business.

 

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About Mary Jane

I am a retired English teacher. My husband, Frank, and I have lived on Cape Cod since 2000. I am a lifelong bread baker and writer and have been posting a blog on Falmouth Patch for the last few years. Savory Seasons has been largely devoted to recipes and food in general. I am hoping to expand my focus in this new blog.
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2 Responses to Clam Chowder for a Crowd

  1. JoAnn says:

    Well, now, that’s recipe I might try next year when it’s our turn to host our wine group dinner!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. bbbyles says:

    Yummm! Enjoy your holiday.

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