This hearty Corn Chowder with Crab is like an entire New England seafood boil in a bowl.
- 3 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 celery stalk (halved lengthwise and diced)
- 4 clove garlic (peeled and minced, divided)
- 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- kosher salt (as needed)
- freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
- 4 cup clam juice (may substitute water)
- 1 Idaho russet potato (peeled and cut into ½‑inch dice)
- 36 live, fresh clams in shell
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup water
- 2 cup half-and-half (may substitute milk or cream )
- 3 ears fresh corn (shucked, cleaned, kernels cut from cob)
- 8 ounce lump crab (optional)
- chopped flat leaf parsley (as needed for garnish)
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium Dutch oven, add onion, celery and half of the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften but have not yet begun to color, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, cayenne and flour and cook, stirring the whole time, about 1 minute. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in the clam juice. Allow it to come to a boil, then add diced potatoes. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll notice the liquid thicken considerably, this is fine, just don’t allow it to burn or stick.
Meanwhile, wash the clams thoroughly and remove any grit. They should have no odor. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan (with a lid) over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes to combine the flavors. Add the clams and water, cover the pan and steam the clams until they open, about 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open and remove the opened clams to large bowl. Choose 2 of the prettiest looking clams in their shells per serving; set these aside. Remove the the meat from the remaining clams and roughly chop it. Discard empty shells.
When the potatoes in the Dutch oven are fork tender, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the half-and-half, corn kernels, lump crab (if using), and chopped clams. Gently simmer, without boiling, until the chowder has thickened and consistently creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve the warm soup in warm mugs or bowls garnished with the clams still in their shell and parsley.