How to Make New England Clam Chowder, Part 1

Around the World in 80 Dishes takes you to New England with a demonstration of a classic recipe for creamy clam chowder, prepared by Chef Bruce Mattel of the Culinary Institute of America.

Released on 11/11/2008

Credits

Starring: Bruce Mattel and Tanya Steel

Transcript

00:05
(classical music)
00:11
Hi, I'm Tanya Steel of Epicurious.com,
00:14
and you're watching Around the World in 80 Dishes.
00:16
Today, I'm here with Chef Bruce Mattel,
00:19
and we're checking out New England Clam Chowder
00:21
from the U-S-of-A.
00:23
Chef Bruce, thank you so much for showing me how to do this.
00:26
You're welcome.
00:27
Are you a clam chowder fan
00:28
by any chance? I am.
00:29
You are? Any chowder fan.
00:30
Ohhh, interesting.
00:32
Great, well, show me what we do first.
00:35
Well, as I mentioned before,
00:36
we have a cured and smoked product,
00:38
we have some slab bacon here.
00:40
Okay, uncooked, right? It's uncooked.
00:43
We'll heat up the pot, we'll just put in some bacon.
00:48
And you wanna render this.
00:50
Now, the pot is a stainless steel pot.
00:52
You wanna have one that is fairly heavy-gauge,
00:55
so that the bacon doesn't burn really quick,
00:58
or render too fast.
01:00
You wanna do this sort of on a moderate heat,
01:03
so that you allow all the fat to render before it browns.
01:06
So you get enough fat out of the bacon.
01:09
And when you're saying rendering, what you mean is
01:10
that you're potentially cooking the fat out?
01:12
Right, cooking the fat out, rendering the fat,
01:14
melting the fat. I see.
01:17
And at the same time that we melt the fat,
01:18
we want to brown the bacon a little bit.
01:21
Just to develop some of that flavor.
01:23
Oh, okay.
01:24
But we wanna do that slowly,
01:26
we maximize the yield of the fat,
01:28
because what the fat represents, besides flavor,
01:32
is the substance that is going to mix with the flour,
01:36
form a roux, and become the thickener for the soup.
01:38
Oh, I see, okay.
01:40
You wanna stir? Yes, I do, thank you.
01:42
You see how it's sticking a little?
01:44
Yeah.
01:45
I wouldn't be so concerned about that right now,
01:47
because we're gonna add onions afterwards,
01:49
and onions are so high in moisture that they'll kinda
01:53
let out enough moisture to release some of that—
01:56
some of those pan drippings. I see, okay.
01:59
We don't cook it all the way through,
02:00
we just cook it until it's slightly brown?
02:02
Yeah, 'til it's slightly brown.
02:03
The darker the bacon gets, it might become a little bitter.
02:08
Oh, I see.
02:09
So we'll go a little bit further,
02:11
see how it's getting a little brown there?
02:12
Yep.
02:13
We're gonna go ahead and add our onions now,
02:15
now that we've got it a little brown.
02:16
Yep. See how much fat released?
02:18
Yeah, a lot.
02:19
And you don't wanna take that fat out.
02:20
I know a lot of people immediately,
02:22
they see bacon fat and they want to take it out,
02:24
but you need that fat to create the roux,
02:26
which is going to thicken. I see.
02:30
And those onions are medium-dice.
02:32
And these are just regular onions?
02:34
Either Spanish onions or yellow onions or white onions.
02:38
[Tanya] Not—you couldn't use Vidalia onions.
02:40
You could. You could?
02:42
You could, sure.
02:43
They would work fine too.
02:46
So once we see that the onions
02:47
have gotten mostly transparent,
02:50
we'll sprinkle the flour on and form a roux.
02:53
Okay.
02:54
I'm gonna add the flour now.
02:56
If you could just stir that in, this is all-purpose flour.
03:00
You can use whole wheat flour also.
03:02
I would advise against a bread flour,
03:04
which has a lot more gluten in it.
03:08
But it could be used also.
03:09
There you go. Yeah, gettin' there.
03:11
The flour, as you notice,
03:13
got absorbed, pretty much all the fat,
03:15
and when we add the liquid, we'll be able
03:18
to incorporate this mixture into the liquid using a whisk,
03:21
and it will not form lumps of flour
03:24
because the flour has been mixed with the fat.
03:26
I see.
03:27
So what we're gonna do now is we're gonna swap.
03:30
We're gonna get rid of that spoon,
03:32
and I'm gonna give you a whisk.
03:34
(clangs)
03:37
And I'm gonna give you...
03:39
clam juice. Oh!
03:40
This is canned clam juice. It is canned?
03:43
It's okay to use? Canned is fine.
03:44
We'll add a little first.
03:46
(sizzles) Now stir that in.
03:47
And the reason why we're adding a little first
03:49
is so that it doesn't get all messy,
03:51
and you're able to incorporate the roux into it.
03:53
And then we'll add the remaining amount.
03:55
[Tanya] I see, okay.
03:56
It's just a little easier to work with.
03:57
Now, see how thick that is? Yeah.
03:59
[Bruce] That's because we didn't add all the liquid.
04:01
So we're gonna add the rest of the liquid now.
04:05
So, while you are...
04:08
Whisking away, yeah? Whisking away.
04:10
I'm gonna...
04:12
dump out the water from these potatoes.
04:16
I cut the potatoes in advance, and we keep them in water.
04:19
[Tanya] And are these regular Idahos?
04:21
These are regular Russet potatoes,
04:22
but you could use a Yukon Gold potato,
04:24
which is very flavorful, but a...
04:27
a potato that's pretty high in starch.
04:29
I see, okay, great.
04:32
Okay, once we bring that to a simmer, which it is,
04:35
we're gonna add the potatoes.
04:39
And we're going to add some nicely fresh chopped thyme.
04:42
[Tanya] Mmm, now could you use fresh thyme?
04:44
Yes, this is fresh. Oh, it is fresh.
04:47
This is chopped, but you could use dried also.
04:49
And one bay leaf. Okay.
04:51
[Bruce] And the bay leaf and the thyme will create
04:53
a really nice aroma and accent the flavor of the soup.
04:57
This needs to cook for how long before we—
05:00
This needs to cook until the potatoes are tender.
05:02
So, what I like to do now is,
05:04
I'm actually gonna move this off the fire
05:06
onto another fire to simmer,
05:08
and we're going to take our canned clams,
05:10
mix it with our heavy cream, and simmer them a little bit.
05:13
Okay...
05:14
And we'll eventually add that to the soup.
05:16
I see, great, okay...