Today, I am driving up the coast to Rhode Island to drop my daughter, Zoe, off for her freshman year of college. When she started kindergarten, I thought this moment was YEARS away! Well, that time is now and I am completely in denial.
Rhode Island clear chowder is a broth made from clams, potatoes, onions, herbs, and spices, which is commonly mistaken for the dishwater that comes from cleaning up after New England clam chowder. The chowder wars will never go away. I actually do not like clam chowder, but here it is.
Rhode Island Clear Clam Chowder
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 quart clam broth
1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 lb minced clams
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh black pepper
In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, melt the butter in the oil over low-medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Stir in the diced potato, then pour in the clam broth and thyme leaves.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potato is soft when pierced with a knife. Using a wooden spoon, smash some of the potato against the side of the pot, and stir into the broth to thicken it slightly. Add the clams with any juice, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.