New England Clam Chowder and San Francisco Clam Chowders are practically identical — except for the fact the California version is usually served in a hollowed out sourdough bread bowl.This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite cities here in California — San Francisco. After sampling the piping hot chowders along Fish Alley on Fisherman's Wharf, I just had to make some myself at home. For the ultimate California touch, serve this inside a Boudin sourdough bread bowl.
2cupschicken brothmay substitute water or clam juice
3cupshalf and half or heavy cream
Dice onions, celery and potatoes. Place potatoes in cold water and set aside.
Over medium-high heat in a large stockpot, cook diced bacon until browned. Add celery and onion and cook until onions are translucent, scraping pan to get bits of flavor.
Strain potatoes and add to onions and celery. Strain clams into 2 cups of broth or clam juice, and add to pot along with the bay leaf. Reserve clams to use in a moment.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Add 2 cups half/half to pot, along with the reserved clams.
Make a roux in a separate pan by heating 1/2 stick of butter until melted. Stir in flour and whisk for about 2 minutes until thickened. Stir in 1 cup half/half and keep stirring until thick and smooth.
Use roux to thicken your chowder, stirring in about 1/4 cup at a time, until it reaches your desired creaminess.
Serving variations: Enjoy with a fresh thyme sprig and slice of sourdough garlic toast OR place it in a sourdough bread bowl and top with minced chives and cooked bacon bits.