What you need
- 1.5kg fresh live clams or pippies, in shells
- 75g unsalted butter
- 40g plain white flour
- 200ml white wine
- 3 cups fish stock
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
- 125g can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
- 150ml PHILADELPHIA Cream for Cooking, a cream alternative
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
How to make it
- SOAK the clams in cold water for 20-30 minutes so they expel all sand and to clean them. Meanwhile, to make a beurre manie, soften 50g of the butter and mix in the flour to make a thick paste. Set aside. Drain the clams and rinse a couple of times, checking they are free of sand.
- HEAT a large pan with a lid over a high heat until hot. Tip in the clams and wine and cover. Shake the pan, then remove lid, remove the open clams and set aside, then replace lid and repeat.
- CONTINUE to cook the remaining clams this way until all clams have opened. When cool enough to handle remove clams from their shells. Reserve some of the cooked clams in shells to garnish and roughly chop the rest of the clams. Pour the remaining cooking liquid through a sieve and into a clean pan, and then add the fish stock. Set aside.
- HEAT the remaining butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek and garlic, and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the potato and cook for 5-8 minutes, until softened. Remove pan from the heat and add the clams and sweetcorn.
- MEANWHILE, bring the fish stock to the boil and whisk in the beurre manie in small pieces, whisking between each addition, and stirring until stock is thickened. Stir in the PHILLY Cream for Cooking and the clam mixture and simmer for 2 minutes. Season, if liked, and serve scattered with parsley.
This takes me to New York. In early 2010, when snow had turned the city white and my face blue, this hearty, warming soup just about saved me. For this you need excellent quality fish stock. If you don't have that, make something else; the live clams and all the effort are just too great to waste. A flour and butter mixture, or beurre manie, is used to thicken this chunky yet velvety chowder.