2 cups potatoes, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
2 7-1/2 oz. cans of chopped clams
1 quart (4 cups) of half-and-half (I didn't use half-and-half. More on that in a moment...)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper (and other seasonings. Again, more on that later....)
Cut up all your vegetables. In a large pot, combine vegetables with clam juice (don't add the clams) and enough water to barely cover the vegetables.
roux by melting the butter over medium heat then adding the flour. Let the roux cook for about a minute. Add the half-and-half. Stir constantly with a whisk until thickened and bubbling. Getting it to this stage took a little over five minutes for me.
Note: I don't know how often my mom even used half-and-half, though her recipe says so. On the recipe I copied from her, she added "2% milk works". I figure she wrote that because that's what she had on hand whenver she made chowder. Yesterday, when I made this batch, I used the rest of the whole milk I had on hand (about a cup) and mixed it with 3 cups (or so) of 1% milk. Worked fine. Granted, the sauce will be creamier and will thicken more quickly if you use the half-and-half or even the 2% milk, but you can improvise.
Pour the cream sauce over the cooked vegetables. Add clams. Stir. Adjust consistency with the reserved cooking water.
In the batch I made yesterday, I used kosher salt, freshly ground peppper (as you can see above), celery salt, parsley flakes, just a dash of sugar, and few good splashes of red wine vinegar. Just do a little bit of seasoning at a time, taste it, and add more if necessary. You can also add more cooking water, depending on how thick or thin you like your chowder.
And that's it. Delicious, homemade clam chowder. So good, so filling. Even better when served in a bread bowl. It's one of Mom's classic recipes for a reason.
*"Showdaire? It's chowda!" If you caught that Simpsons reference, you're a friend of mine. Love those classic episodes.