LONG ISLAND CORN, CLAM, AND BACON CHOWDER

For the chowder:1/4 pound slab bacon, diced 1/2 quart mild stock or clam juice 1 quart fresh clams, chopped 6 ribs celery, sliced 10 potatoes, diced 3 onions, diced 1 red pepper, diced 1 green pepper, diced 12 ears corn, blanched and taken off cob Fresh herbs (thyme, bay, parsley) 1 cup cream 1/2 cup clarified butter or bacon fat 3/4 cup flour Salt and pepper to tasteFor croutons: Day-old sourdough bread, cut into half-inch cubes (substitute any day-old bread) Duck fat or olive oil 1 head garlic, chopped Salt and pepper Fry bacon and reserve fat. Combine all chowder ingredients except cream, flour, butter, corn, and salt and pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil. Make smooth paste of flour and butter and whisk in when mixture boils. Cook for 20 minutes at moderate heat, while stirring. Add corn and bacon and cook for another 10 minutes. Finish with cream and garnish with croutons. For croutons: Heat oil and garlic until flavors infuse. Toss with bread cubes and bake at 350 degrees F. until golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yield: 8 to 12 servings. (Recipe may be halved.)

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