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Clam Chowder with Garlic Bread


clam chowder with crispy leeks and garlic bread

In terms of soups, I like to think that clam chowder is in a league of its own. Yes, I know that soup and a chowder are two different things, but, I think we can also agree that a clam chowder is a form of soup (not to be confusing or anything...). All that being said, these is probably the best clam chowder I've ever had. I swear I'm only partly biased because I'm the one who made it, but I've had a bunch of chowders in my day, and this one was top notch.


The trick to any good chowder is starting with bacon, and especially the bacon fat. I used a thick-cut bacon, cut into cubes in a cast iron pot over fire on the Alchemy (you can of course use a stovetop for this as well). Once the bacon has cooked a bit and the fat is rendered, then you can start to build the layers of flavour in your chowder. I grilled up carrot, celery and leek on the plancha and tossed that into the pot with the bacon, then added butter and then flour to thicken it. Next, in goes clam juice, cream, chicken stock and is seasoned with salt and pepper. Let this all cook for about two hours, stirring occasionally. Then, with about 10 minutes left to your cook, add in the clams. Allow the clams to cook until they have opened - the time for this varies based on how heavily your chowder is bowling and the size of the clams, but you want to check them at about five to ten minute intervals, to make sure you don't overcook them. I served up my clam chowder with crispy fried leeks, garlic bread made with thyme and lemon garlic butter and a sprinkle of fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon juice. I can't tell how good it was... you'll just have to try it for yourself! If you want to find out how to make my Clam Chowder with Garlic Bread, keep reading or jump to the full recipe.


chopped carrots, celery and leeks in a bowl

Finely chop the carrots and celery and add to a bowl. Thinly slice the leek into rounds, but leave about 3-4 inches of the white part. Place the rounds of leek into the bowl with the carrots and celery.


leeks being cut into thin matchsticks

Slice the remaining white part of the leeks into thin matchsticks.


flour being poured into a bowl with the matchstick-cut leeks

Place the sliced matchstick leeks into a separate bowl and coat with 1-2 tbsp flour. Set aside.


chopped carrots, celery and leeks being poured onto the plancha to grill

Add the carrots, celery and leeks to the planca with oil and allow to cook and soften.


diced bacon being cooked in a cast iron pot

Dice the bacon. Place a cast iron pot on the elevated grill rack over the centre fire and once hot, add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned.


the grilled vegetables added to the pot of bacon and butter is being added in

Add the vegetables from the plancha and mix. Add ¼ cup butter and mix.


flour is being sprinkled into the pot to thicken it up

Sprinkle in the flour 2-3 tbsp at a time and mix, until incorporated. Add in the clam juice. Mix.


cream is being poured into the pot

Add in the cream and mix. Add in the stock. Mix and cover. Allow to cook and bring to a simmer.


the leek matchsticks are being fried in old in a small cast iron pan

Meanwhile, place a small cast iron pan on plancha with canola oil. Fry the leeks until crispy.


the crispy leeks and in a bowl and being seasoned with salt

Once the leek are done, remove from the oil and place in a bowl and season with salt. Set aside.


chopped thyme, grated garlic, lemon zest and butter are in bowl

Finely chop the thyme and place in a bowl. Grate in garlic and lemon zest and add remaining butter. Mix. Season with salt and pepper and mix.


the thyme lemon garlic butter is being spread on a piece of bread

Slice a piece of bread and spread the rosemary lemon butter on both sides.


the garlic bread is on the plancha and is being grilled and is crispy and golden

Once you're ready to make your garlic bread, add the buttered bread to the plancha and toast on both sides until golden.


fresh clams are being poured into the pot of chowder

Once the chowder is boiling, season with salt and pepper and add the clams. Cook, covered, until clams are opened.



the cooked clams are being spooned into a bowl

Once clams are cooked, remove from the pot and transfer into your serving bowl(s). Ladle in the chowder broth and squeeze the juice from half a lemon over top.


a clam from the clam chowder is being removed from the shell with a spoon, the chowder is in a bowl topped with crispy fried leeks and served with garlic bread

Season with pepper, fresh chopped dill the crispy leeks and serve with the garlic bread.


And now for the full recipe...


Clam Chowder with Garlic Bread

Serve 3-4 people

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes


Ingredients:

1 large carrot

3 stalks Celery

1 Leek

2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme, divided

5-6 slices thick-cut bacon

½ Flour

4 cups Chicken stock

3 cups heavy Cream

2.4 lbs Clams

½ cup Clam juice

Rustic baguette

1/2 cup butter, divided

1 cloves garlic

1 Lemon, juice + zest

Salt

Pepper

fresh dill for garnish

Canola oil for frying


How to Make Clam Chowder with Garlic Bread


Finely chop the carrots and celery and add to a bowl. Thinly slice the leek into rounds, but leave about 3-4 inches of the white part to thinly slice into matchsticks. Place the rounds of leek into the bowl with the carrots and celery and the matchsticks into a separate bowl and coat with 1-2 tbsp flour. Set aside. Add the carrots, celery and leeks to the planca with oil and allow to cook and soften.


Dice the bacon. Place a cast iron pot on the elevated grill rack over the centre fire and once hot, add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned. Add the vegetables from the plancha and mix. Add ¼ cup butter and mix. Sprinkle in the flour 2-3 tbsp at a time and mix, until incorporated. Add in the clam juice. Mix. Add in the cream and mix. Add in the stock. Mix and cover. Allow to cook and bring to a simmer.


Meanwhile, place a small cast iron pan on plancha with canola oil. Fry the leeks until crispy. Remove from oil once done and place in a bowl and salt.


To make the garlic bread, begin by finely chopping the thyme and placing in a bowl. Grate in garlic and lemon zest and add remaining butter. Mix. Season with salt and pepper and mix. Slice a piece of bread and butter on both sides. Add to the plancha and toast on both sides until golden.


Once the chowder is boiling, season with salt and pepper and add the clams. Cook, covered, until clams are opened. Once clams are cooked, remove from the pot and transfer into your serving bowl(s). Ladle in the chowder broth and squeeze the juice from half a lemon over top. Season with pepper, fresh chopped dill the crispy leeks and serve with the garlic bread.


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Matt Basile

MEET THE CHEF

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Chef Matt Basile is the founder of the Toronto-based street food brand, Fidel Gastro's, which, within four years, went from an underground sandwich pop-up to an internationally recognized food brand. Now almost a decade later, Matt has a still growing business of food experiences, restaurant consulting and new and exciting foodie-filled projects on the way. Matt always strives to be different in an industry steeped in tradition. Matt is also the author of the best-selling cookbooks Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life, and was the host of the travel food show Rebel Without a Kitchen for two seasons. More here!

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