John F. Kennedy, the 35th United States President, was reportedly not a big eater and had to be reminded about meal times. But when he did dine, he was true to his New England roots.
Yield: 6 servings, generous 1 cup each
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 medium red potato, diced
- 1 clam juice, (see Makeover Tip below)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 c. low-fat milk
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 12-ounce fresh clam strips, (see Shopping Tip below), chopped, or 3 6-ounce cans chopped baby clams, rinsed
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer half of the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Add onion, celery, and thyme to the pan; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add potato, clam juice, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Whisk milk, cream, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the pan and return to a simmer, stirring, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add clams and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams are just cooked through, about 3 minutes more.
To serve, discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with some of the reserved bacon and scallions.
Tips & Techniques
Makeover tip: Check sodium carefully when using clam juice because the amount of sodium can vary dramatically between brands. We use Bar Harbor clam juice with only 120 mg sodium per 2-ounce serving.
Shopping tip: Look for fresh clam strips at the seafood counter.