Aired September 28, 2009
Up to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon EVOO
1/4 pound smoky lean bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound small red skin potatoes, diced 1/2 inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 quart whole milk
2 pounds little neck clams, scrubbed
1 can or bottle of beer
1 lemon, sliced
A handful of chives, finely chopped
A handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. Spread the corn with a thin layer of softened butter and place on grill, grill 15 minutes or until golden brown to edges of kernels. Cool to handle. Place a small bowl inverted in a large mixing bowl. Steady the cobs on the smaller bowl bottom and scrape the charred kernels into the larger bowl using a sharp knife. Puree half the corn in food processor with 1/2 cup stock.
Heat a soup pot or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add EVOO, a turn of the pan. When oil is hot, add bacon and crisp 2-3 minutes. Add onion, potatoes, garlic, bay leaf, bell pepper and thyme. Cook to just soften potatoes, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining chicken stock and scrape up any pan drippings. Add corn puree and kernels, season with salt and pepper and stir. Add milk, bring to a bubble then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in chives and parsley.
While chowder simmers, in a deep skillet with lid, bring beer to a boil with the lemon slices. Add clams and cover the pot. Steam 4-5 minutes, to open shells. Discard any unopened shells.
To serve, scoop some clams into shallow bowls. Ladle the chowder over the top of clams. Pass hot sauce, crusty baguette and butter at the table.