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New England style clam chowder with thyme crunchy breadcrumbs


  • For the soup

  • 1 onion, peeled & finely chopped

  • 2 sticks celery – finely chopped

  • olive oil

  • knob of butter

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 sprigs of thyme

  • 1kg clams

  • 1 husk of fresh corn – the corn kernels sliced off

  • ½ litre chicken stock

  • 300g red potatoes – chopped into pieces

  • 100ml single cream

  • handful of parsley, chopped

  • For the thyme breadcrumbs

  • Spelt bread

  • Couple of sprigs of thyme

  • Olive oil

  • If you like: Pancetta slices – fried to a crisp to serve


  • 1.

    Fry the onion and celery in a little olive oil and butter until soft. Add in the bay leaves and a couple of sprigs of thyme

  • 2.

    While the onion is softening. Heat a pint of water in a large saucepan. When it is simmering throw in the clams, put the lid on and steam for about 3 minutes until all the shells are open

  • 3.

    Drain off the clams – keep the clam water to one side. Discard any clams that have not opened, pull out the clams from their shells and keep to one side.

  • 4.

    Add the fresh sweetcorn to the onions

  • 5.

    Add the drained clam water and the stock to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes to start softening the corn.

  • 6.

    Add the chopped potatoes to the soup pan and cook until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.

  • 7.

    Add the clams into the soup, the cream and the parsley.

  • 8.

    Leave to cook for a few more minutes – season to taste.

  • 9.

    While the soup is finishing off – blitz the bread in a food processor so that you have rough breadcrumbs. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, fry the bread with the thyme and season with salt and pepper

  • 10.

    Spoon the soup into bowls and sprinkle over the herby crumbs to serve. You can also add a couple of wafer thin slices of crisped pancetta to serve.

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