Hatch Clam Chowder

Melissa's Hatch Chile Clam Chowder

Recipe excerpt from:
Melissa’s Hatch Pepper Cookbook
by Tom Fraker
Melissa’s World Variety Produce

To Steam the Clams:

  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
  • 6 cloves Melissa’s Peeled Garlic – crushed
  • 2 pounds Fresh Clams – cleaned (See Instructions below)

Using a large skillet with a lid, bring the water, chicken broth, and garlic to a boil. Add the clams into the skillet and place the lid on top. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely. Once all the clams have opened, remove from heat immediately. Do not overcook – your clams will be rubbery. Reserve some of the liquid for use in the chowder, and scoop the meat out of the shells.

For the Chowder:

Prepare a hot grill. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter, brush onto the corn and season with the pepper. Grill until completely slightly charred. 

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Add the onion and the next 3 ingredients. Cook until the onions are translucent. Stir in remaining butter. Add the flour and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Add the bay leaves and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the corn and the clams (chopped, if desired). Simmer until heated through. Adjust the seasonings and garnish with the cilantro and salsa. If you want more clam flavor, add some of the reserved steaming liquid. Makes about 12 servings. 

Note: Cleaning Clams
In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of cold water with 1/3 cup of salt. Place all clams that passed your inspection into the bowl. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Transfer clams into a new clean bowl with a new salt and water mixture. Refrigerate for another 20 minutes. This process draws the dirt out of the clams. If any clams float to the top during this process instead of settling at the bottom, discard them.

Remove clams from the water, but do not pour into a strainer. Pouring everything into a strainer can put dirt back into the clams. Use your hands or a slotted spoon.

Finally, brush the outsides of the shell with a vegetable brush to remove any remaining dirt from the outside of the shell.