Most clam chowder receipts contain potatoes; with nuance, one can elevate the dish by using our Ecogrown long grain rice instead. The rice readily absorbs the base flavors, but retains its form for textural dimension. Our chowder is laden with clams; Llittleneck clams for a concentrated clam stock, taste, and visual appeal, plus canned baby clams to hush complaints of not enough clams. A little fine bacon is added for contrasting mouthfeel and a subtle smoky layer. We use rice flour to thicken for the gluten sensitive. This chowder is righteous!
2 pounds fresh Littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 cup water for clam steaming
2 10 ounce cans baby clams
4 slices smoked bacon (Benton’s Smoky Mountain is distinguished in purpose)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 large sweet Vidalia onion, finely diced
3 celery ribs, split lengthwise and chopped in very small pieces
1 tsp celery seed
4 tbsp Delta Belle or Missimati Fragrant Rice Flour
2 cups fish stock
2 dried bay laurel leaves
½ cup Ecogrown Two Brooks Farm Delta Belle or Missimati Bayou Bouquet Fragrant White Rice
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper, fresh ground
In medium stockpot, bring 1 cup water to boil. Add Littleneck clams, cover, and steam for about 8 minutes or until clams open. Remove with slotted spoon, discarding those not opened. Strain liquid for subsequent use. When cool, remove meat from ½ of clams, chop, and set aside, along with other ½ of clams in shell for use in chowder.
In medium sauté pan, fry bacon until crisp. Remove, and discard all but 2 tbsp bacon fat. Add minced garlic, onions, celery ribs, and celery seed and sauté until onions translucent. Sprinkle rice flour over vegetables and stir until rice flour absorbed. Remove this from skillet and place in stockpot used to steam clams. Add retained and strained clam stock, fish stock, canned baby clams with juice, chopped clams from steaming, bay laurel leaves, and salt and pepper. Bring to boil and blend rice and heavy cream into stock. Reduce to simmer, and do so for 10 minutes. Crumble bacon, and along with Littleneck clams in shell, add to stockpot, stir, and simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring. Chowder will thicken with time. Remove and discard bay laurel leaves and serve with saltines or croutons. Enjoy!