Maine Clam Chowder
- 5 dozen medium-size steamer clams, scrubbed
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 1/4 pounds)
- 2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- Combine clams and 3 cups water in a large stockpot; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until clams open, discarding any unopened clams. Remove clams with a slotted spoon; set aside. Pour liquid through a wire-mesh strainer into a large container, discarding debris. Set clam liquid aside.
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion and celery, and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved clam liquid; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Add potatoes, reduce heat, and cook over low heat 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Remove clams from shells, discarding shells. Peel membrane from clam necks and discard. Add clams, evaporated milk, and next 3 ingredients to potato mixture. Cook over medium-high heat until thoroughly heated. Top each serving with parsley, crumbled bacon, and a dash of paprika. Serve with French bread or crackers.
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