This is the cream based chowder usually known as "New England" Clam Chowder, not the tomato based one usually known as "Manhattan" Clam Chowder. We love good creamy chowders in the cold weather as they truly are "stick to your ribs" good and warm!
This recipe is one that I adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks. I got it a used book sale at my library and the name of it is "The New Basic Cookbook" by Rosso & Lukins. It is actually about 25 years old and goes back to the days when they actually used butter, cream, eggs, wine... you know, real food ingredients. I made a few changes to it such as using canned clams, since we do not live on the coast anymore. You will want to serve this steaming hot and I like to serve it with a veggie tray and Vermont Cheddar Biscuits!
New England Clam Chowder
4 cans chopped clams & their juices (the 6.5 ounce size)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons olive oil (I like the combo of the fats for creamy based soups)
2 large onions grated on a cheese grater (4 cups)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 potatoes peeled & diced small ( 4 cups)
1 1/2teaspoons dry thyme or 3 teaspoons fresh thyme
lots of fresh ground pepper!
salt to taste
3 cups whole milk & 1 cup cream
fresh or dry chives or parsley for topping
Open the cans of clams and dump into a strainer on top of a bowl to separate the juice from clams, reserve both
Heat both oils over medium heat and saute onions until wilted ( 10 minutes)
Add flour and stir constantly while cooking for about 5 minutes
Add reserved clam juice, potatoes, thyme, and salt & pepper
Place a lid on cook , stirring every few minutes, over medium/low heat until the potatoes are soft
At this point you may refrigerate this part until ready to serve or turn off heat and set it aside until ready to serve.
15 minutes before serving, add clams, milk, and cream
Cook over low heat (do not boil) while stirring until heated through
Adjust seasonings and serve piping hot!