clam chowder hand pies

styling by Catrine Kelty | photo by Keller + Keller


12 medium-sized quahog clams
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine, divided
1 medium Yukon gold potato (about 1 cup diced) 
1 slice applewood smoked bacon, finely diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion  
1/2 cup finely diced celery
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons half and half

3 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup ice water
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add clams, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 cup white wine and place over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until clams have opened, 10-15 minutes. Transfer clams to a bowl and discard any that do not open. Pour broth through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and set aside. Allow clams to cool slightly. Once cooled, remove clams from shells and chop into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Place potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Carefully wipe out clam cooking pot and return to medium heat. Add bacon and cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from pot.
  4. Return same pot to medium heat and add butter. Add onions and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add thyme and cook for another minute.
  5. Add flour and cook until incorporated into vegetables and no traces of flour remain. Add remaining 2 tablespoons white wine to deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits. 
  6. Add 3/4 cup reserved clam broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add clams, bacon, and half and half and cook until warmed through.
  7. Meanwhile, transfer potatoes to a bowl and mash. Add clam mixture and toss to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (mixture can be made 1 day in advance).  
  8. Make dough. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, 5-10 seconds. With machine running add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together when pressed between your fingers, no more than 30 seconds. Dough should not be wet or sticky. Do not over-mix (small specks of butter should still be visible in dough when it’s done).
  9. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, and wrap each in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
  10. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  11. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and unwrap from plastic. On a lightly-floured surface, roll dough with a floured rolling pin until 1/4-inch thick. Cut dough into 5 x 5-inch circles. Gather excess dough and reroll, using up as much of dough as possible. 
  12. Place 2 tablespoons clam filling in center of each circle. Wet outside edges all around with a bit of water. Fold dough over and press edges together with your fingers to seal. Cut 4 little slits into top of dough. Continue with remaining dough and filling. Place finished pies in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes while you work with remaining 1/2 of dough.
  13. Remove first tray from refrigerator and brush top of each pie with egg wash. Bake 25-30 minutes, turning once, until tops are lightly golden brown (you can brush tops again with egg wash about halfway through if top isn’t browning much). Remove pies from oven and repeat with remaining tray of pies. Allow pies to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Makes approximately 12 pies.