Alex Guarnaschelli's Clam Chowder | Alex's Day Off | Food NetworkJun 09, 2021
the superstar is my creamy buttery
chowderso we have some small
clams that are the perfect size they have been thoroughly washed they are very gritty so you want to scrub them well you don't want to store your clams in plastic. and you don't want to store them submerged in cold water, just keep them in a self-draining container over ice, make sure they're cold and when you're ready to use them, just check them and make sure they're okay. you're all nice and closed and heavy and perfect and guess what shakira you're going to do just that for us a very important task the star of this soup is definitely the clams but the unsung hero and one of my favorite things the bacon so I'm going to warm it up a little bit just a touch of canola oil and I'm going to start cutting and cooking this bacon and this is going to fill this kitchen with such a smell just by cutting that bacon and it's good if you get the pre-sliced bacon it's all stacked up for you all you have to do is cut it up I'm going to put it in the pan start cooking that's the beginning of the soup start with the bacon don't start with the clams get better with the clams I'm going to stir them and cook them.
Now this has two purposes: one, I want to cook the bacon so I have nice crispy bacon pieces, but I'm also going to use the bacon grease to my advantage. We're going to cook those clams and we're going to do a clam stop at the same time. I like to use about three cups of water for five pounds of clams and I estimate that when I take it out I will have a little left. a little less than that, enough to make a beautiful soup. I'm going to put water. Put all the clams there. Beautiful. We are cooking our clams to make our broth and cook the clams.
We have our bacon that is filling up. This kitchen has such a smell, I can't tell you and now we're going to get the only really fresh part of this soup, which is the vegetables. We're taking two of my favorites and really essential ones under the celery layers of this soup. and the leeks, we just need to trim the bottom and the top, divide them and cut them into thin slices and then we'll wash them well, so I have the leek team and the celery team, the leeks give it a real earthiness and this celery . It gives it a slightly dill-like flavor.
I just cut them into nice thin slices and wait, you'll see what happens to a simple onion and a couple cloves of garlic when we toss them in bacon grease and cook it well so that our bacon is all crispy and that will go on top of our delicious creamy clam
chowder. Now I have all this delicious bacon fat and I want to put it in the body of the soup. I can't just pour it in there, so I'm going to strain it. Throughout these vegetables, I'm going to take the celery that you cut very efficiently into little crescents and I'm going to put it in the bacon fat and give it a quick stir.
I don't really like a lot of soups that I have overcooked vegetables, so I just want to particularly cook the celery just for a minute, cover it with this fat, give it a little more flavor and then set it aside to put in the soup when everything is ready, so you see, that was about 30 seconds. so I'm going to put all that together, take it out and also if you cook the celery quickly, you'll also get a really vibrant green color, not only is it a nice crunchy vegetable element in the soup, but it's also a beautiful color. color, so I have my celery and I'm going to set it aside to cool to room temperature until I'm ready to make the rest of my soup.
If you've had time to drain those leaves and they're clean, there's only one way to tell if a leek is clean is to do a little taste test. I guess I got lucky so I'll add them to some onions and just sprinkle on those cloves of garlic. I'm going to add just a little bit of butter to make sure that these vegetables are covered in deliciousness just about two tablespoons, you don't need to go overboard and let those vegetables get soft and tender while we look at our clams, you can see that now they have open all.
We scrubbed those clams and made sure they were perfect and clean, but just as a last minute safety measure, as a last safety check, we're just going to cover this strainer with cheesecloth to catch any sand that may be in the liquid or still in the liquid. the shelves or they have come off the clams while they were cooking well so I am going to serve and then I will go with those plants shelling the clams very simple since they are open you are just going to take them, they are the perfect size a bite is not too big nor too small, that's why they're my favorite, honestly, it's a size that you can use with your hands or just a spoon to scoop them out, okay, so here are the clams, thanks, here are the two bowls, doubtful.
I give you the shells so you can see that this is no longer just water, now it transforms into a beautiful clam broth that is very spicy mmm delicious so no soup is complete without something creamy and what better than to use a little Shakira heavy cream Yes We'll look in the refrigerator and use that cream to our advantage to cook some potatoes, so you can add that cream in there. We're going to start heating it while we cut our potatoes. I like to use a nice thin-skinned potato, like Yukon Gold, small, tender and tender, that way we can avoid peeling them because the skin is a very nice addition to the soup, so I'll bring you two diced potatoes with me .
We're just going to do that by cutting off a little end, just a little bit of the edge so it's flat and that way it doesn't rock on the board as we cut it, it doesn't matter if they're perfect, but it does matter that they're all relatively the same size so that They will all be cooked and tender at about the same time and the potato starch will seep into the cream and thicken it with a few dried bay leaves and just a few sprigs of thyme and we can fish out these herb stalks later, after they are cooked, they are like fresh mini tea bags in the cream.
I'm going to add that and of course a little bit of salt and pepper to make sure our potatoes get flavor as they cook, so take all those potatoes and add mine in there. I'm just going to place them in the cream. I'm going to mix all of that together and bring it to a simmer and cook it. the potatoes until they are tender now my vegetables look good and I'm just going to add a little bit of dry vermouth it's a good white or dry wine if you prefer something dry to give a little acidity to the whole soup to balance it I'm going to pour this cream right there and that makes the best noise, right?
Yeah, okay, just take every last piece of potato. Now I'm going to add a little bit of that clam liquid, so we're just going to pour. Save that liquid a little with a little sand. Look, I think we have enough. Let's not forget that we cook celery alone. You can see that it will add a very nice green element to this soup. Celery is underrated and really. important in the clam chowder, I'm going to add that there are good juices from the celery, we're going to add those clams, I'm just going to let this all come together, let it simmer a little bit until it thickens. to add a touch of hot sauce it's enough to give it a little bit of heat but not make it super spicy and a little bit of Worcestershire for a little bit of saltiness brings out the natural saltiness of those clams and now, like when you do a roast. or anything else, the soup needs to sit too.
Now we're going to let this simmer for a few minutes and let all these flavors come together. Let's not forget our bacon, it's all crispy and beautiful here, waiting, but we're going to drop it. which at the last minute I'm going to spread it out just to torture them all and add a pinch of one of my favorite peppers, Aleppo pepper, the other thing is I feel like the clams know they've ended up somewhere. fabulous, you see that expertly cut celery, my goodness, what knife skills, Rick, you brought the bacon, you know what to do, double, do me good, that leaves me more, please serve me.
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