Presidential Favorite – New England Clam Chowder

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.

President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy sits aboard the United States Coast Guard boat Manitou in Narragansett Bay, Newport, R.I., August 26, 1962. ROBERT KNUDSEN/WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHS, JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

From EatingWell: September/October 2008

Yield:  6 servings, generous 1 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 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

 

Directions:

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.

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