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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Add the fresh sweetcorn to the onions
- Add the drained clam water and the stock to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes to start softening the corn.
- Add the chopped potatoes to the soup pan and cook until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.
- Add the clams into the soup, the cream and the parsley.
- Leave to cook for a few more minutes – season to taste.
- 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
- 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.