3 Yukon Gold potatoes (or any waxy potato), peeled, diced and reserved in cold water (about 1 L/4 c), reserve potato peels
50 top neck clams (4.5 kg; may substitute any type of clam)
200 ml (¾ c) white wine
113 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
400 g (2½ c) white onion, diced
180 g (1¼ c) celery, diced
180 g (1¼ c) leeks, cleaned, diced and reserved in cold water
500 ml (2 c) double (heavy) cream
250 ml (1 c) whole milk
250 g (½ lb) streaky bacon, cut into large pieces, cooked until crispy
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a small saucepan, add the potato peels and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and reserve the potato peels.
In a large 6 litre (6 qt) pot over medium heat, add the clams and white wine and cook until shells open, about 10 minutes. Strain and remove the clams, reserving the cooking liquid. Remove the clams from shells and roughly chop; reserve.
In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery and leeks. Cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved clam juice, diced potatoes, heavy cream and milk. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Place the cooked potato peels in a blender along with one quarter of the chowder; blend until smooth. Add the mixture back to the chowder, along with the chopped clams, and stir to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with crisp bacon.
A staple of Northeastern cuisine, these edible molluscs are steamed, fried, or slurped raw from the shell. They’re also the star ingredient in hearty clam chowder.