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I am from outside of Boston and my husband is from New Jersey. Therefore we do not agree on what is “true” clam chowder. For me it is comforting creamy goodness, full of clams, potatoes and bacon. For my husband it is spicy and brothy, red and bold. We do not agree. Last night, I made my version of New England clam chowder. It came out delicious with a smokey depth of flavor, chuck full of small dice red skinned potatoes and little neck clams. Next week I will make my Aunt Henny’s Manhattan clam chowder. ( She was from Jersey and a wonderful cook). It will not solve the debate but is a good excuse to eat great soup and continue the fight…

The Dinner Belle’s Clam ChowderDSC_0006

6 servings

3 dozen clams in the shell, rinsed and scrubbed

8 slices thick cut bacon

¾ cup dry white wine

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 leek, including tender green parts, washed and thinly sliced

1 ¾ tsp. dried thyme

1 bottle clam juice

2 cups water

2 cups heavy cream

1 lb red potatoes, not peeled, cut into a small dice

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives (for garnish)

Sauté bacon in a large heavy pan over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon and transfer to paper towels. Crumble bacon when cool enough to touch. Remove drippings from pan and reserve 2 tablespoons. Heat pan back up and pour in wine, scrapping up brown bits. Simmer for 3 minutes and set aside.

Heat reserved bacon drippings in a large pot. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Adds leeks, garlic and dried thyme and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add wine (from bacon pan), water and clam juice. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down a little and add clams. Cover and steam for 7-10 minutes, or until they just open.

Remove clams from the broth with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl, discarding any that did not open or have cracked.

With the liquid simmering, slowly add cream and stir until incorporated. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender over medium heat, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, pull the clams from the shells. If they are large, cut them into ½ inch pieces.

When the potatoes are tender, add clams and bacon back into the pot and simmer for 2 minutes more until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chives. Serve with crusty bread.