Loving Clam Chowder Days YaYa’s NE Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is one of those subjects, like politics or religion, that can never be discussed lightly.  Bring it up even incidentally, and all the innumerable factions of the clam bake regions raise their heads and begin to yammer.”
Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)

Checking out the forecast and all signs point to dark, dreary rainy nights and days so a nice hot pot of chowder is in order and yet again, “The Instant Pot” is the appliance of the day so with little prep and cooking time I can sit, knit, sip a bit of wine, and watch some clouds drift in this direction.  Many thanks to my friend Cookie for finding the frozen clams for our adventures into “everything clams…

For starters, I had a huge bag of those lovely baby potatoes in many colors but chose the Yukon golds and I didn’t peel them, just cut into about 3/4 inch bite-sized chunks.

4 cups 3/4” cut unpeeled potatoes
3 ribs of celery, 1 large outer, and two center tender ribs with leaves, small diced and chop the leaves
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup diced white or yellow onion
1 sprig baby oregano, fish out stem when chowder is done
2 bay leaves (remove when the chowder is finished
3 small tender thyme sprigs, remove sprigs when the chowder is done
2-2 1/2 cups clam broth or stock
1 pint of heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons butter
3 slices thick-cut bacon halved lengthwise and cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/4 cup clam broth  or water
Garnishes:  Chopped parsley, pilot or oyster crackers, and the crispy bacon if you reserved it after frying.

Prepare all of your ingredients as directed, turn on the Instant Pot to sauté the diced bacon and remove if you wish and save to add to each bowl at serving time or leave it in the pot to cook with all of the other ingredients.  Toss in the chopped vegetables (except for potatoes), the sprigs of herbs and bay leaves, sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring and then pour in a little of the clam broth to deglaze the pan.  Pour in the potatoes, stir a bit and pour in the rest of the clam broth, season with sea salt freshly ground black pepper, and add the butter. Put the lid on the pot, seal, and set for 5 minutes high pressure…I did a natural release.

Now take about 1 cup of the cooked potatoes and 1/4 cup broth to whiz up with the stick blender, whiz and return to the pot and stir in, set sautéto normal, pour in the pint of heavy cream reheat stirring and when the chowder is nice and warm pour in the chopped clams, serve in a warm bread bowl or in an individual soup crock with garnishes of chopped parsley and crispy bacon.

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