80g butter, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 sourdough bread stick
2kg clams, cleaned
1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
3 rashers bacon, rind removed, diced
2 tbsp plain flour
4 cups chicken stock
750g potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes
2 cobs corn, kernels
300ml thickened cream
2 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional)
1 To make sourdough toast, combine butter, garlic and chives in a bowl. Slice sourdough every 2cm, taking care not to cut all the way through. Spread butter mixture generously between slices. Wrap in foil. Set aside.
2 Pour 4 cups water into a large, deep saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Add clams and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until shells open. Drain. Remove clams from shells, reserving 12 clams in shells for serving. Wash and dry saucepan.
3 Preheat oven to 200C. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and bacon and cook for 4–5 minutes or until tender. Add flour and stir until well combined. Remove saucepan from heat and slowly add stock and 1 cup water, stirring constantly. Return to heat and add potato and corn kernels. Bring chowder to the boil uncovered. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until potato is tender.
4 Meanwhile, put prepared sourdough in oven and bake for 10–15 minutes or until heated through. Add cream to chowder and stir until well combined and mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat and add clams. Cook for 1–2 minutes or until clams are heated through. Ladle chowder into serving bowls. Top with reserved clams in shells and sprinkle with chives (optional). Serve with sourdough toast on the side.