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New Edinburgh clam chowder

Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

"The Manhattan version of clam chowder is made with tomatoes and tomato juice; the New England version is made with cream. In New Edinburgh (Dunedin), we do it even better. It has to do with with the climate, water quality, the shellfish, and the vegetables that we grow and we buy at New World."

Ingredients

Method

  • 1 rasher of bacon
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium-sized floury potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 Tbsp of flour
  • 300ml of light cream
  • 2 dozen Otago clams (cockles), either self-gathered from the many laces where they may be found around Dunedin, or bought live. (A 425 g tin of clams is a less messy alternative but don't expect them to taste as good).
  • 1 tsp wine vinegar
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
View the method
  1. Place the cockles in a large saucepan with a dash of water. Cover and turn up the heat until the cockles are enveloped in steam. Watch them carefully and lift out each one with tongs out into a separate bowl the minute the shells open.
  2. When they are cool enough to handle, pry the shells apart using a teaspoon. Scoop out the clams and reserve them. Drain off any juice, including any left in the shells and save. Set the clams and juice aside.
  3. Grill the bacon until crisp, then chop it into small pieces and set aside on a paper towel.
  4. Put the vegetables in a deep frying pan and just cover with water. Add the saved clam juice and the bacon. Bring them to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile make a roux in a large, heavy saucepan, by melting the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth, followed by the cream, while stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Add to the vegetables. Heat thoroughly but do not boil.
  6. Add the clams immediately before serving, along with the wine vinegar, after allowing 3 - 4 minutes for the clams to heat through.
  7. Serve in deep bowls, with a sprinkle of black pepper and/or a dusting of smoked paprika. Accompany with French bread. This recipe makes 4 large bowls. Keep 2 in the fridge overnight, as the flavours mingle and develop. Reheat them gently the next day.
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