By Oceania Cruises · September 2020
Nothing pairs better with crisp fall days than a bowl of steaming New England clam chowder. Dating back to 1836 at the Union Oyster House in Boston, this famous chowder is pure comfort in a bowl.
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine the clams and water and bring to a simmer. Cover and steam until the clams open, about 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a work surface and remove the meat from the open shells, discarding any shells that did not open. Coarsely chop the meat and reserve. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into a large bowl. Add water if needed to make 6 cups of stock. Reserve.
Rinse and dry the stockpot and place over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer onto paper towels to drain.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the butter, thyme, bay leaf, onion and celery. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 more minutes. Slowly stir in the stock. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the clam meat and cream and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme and bay leaf. Stir in the sherry and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve in bowls topped with the bacon and chives.