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Here’s the promised clam chowder recipe. Let me know what you think. (Polianthus and FD, are you reading?)

clam chowder2

Clam Chowder
3 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces (if you don’t want to use bacon, then just start with 2 tbsp butter)
1 tbsp butter
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp flour 
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (or half broth + half clam juice to make up that amount)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 cans chopped clams, with the juice
1 cup half & half (or cream)
Fresh herbs (I used thyme & chives, about 2 tsp each)
Salt & pepper, as needed

1. In a soup pot, cook bacon til crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel, reserve for later.
2. Remove fat left by the bacon except for 1 tbsp, add 1 tbsp butter.
3. Sauté onion and celery until nicely tender, add garlic, sauté a minute longer.
4. Sprinkle flour and stir for another minute.
5. Add chicken broth and clam juice (if using), and potatoes. Heat to boiling, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 – 20 minutes. Stir soup often, to prevent sticking or burning. *See note
6. Add clams and cook just until clams are heated through.
7. Add chopped thyme and chives, salt & pepper as needed.
8. Add half and half or cream.
9. Heat through. Do not boil. 
10. Serve with crisp bacon and/or oyster crackers on top.

clam chowder

*Note: At this point, the soup is on the thin side. If you’d like a thicker soup, you have the following options to do:
1. My favorite method, and is also a good one if you’re on a gluten-free diet (foregoing the initial flour as well.) Once the potatoes are tender, while stirring, pick up a few pieces of potatoes with the back of the spoon and mash them against the sides of the pot. Do it a few times, until soup thickens.

2. Make a slurry of flour and milk. 1 part flour to 2 parts milk. Add to soup until a desired consistency is reached. When using this method, make sure you cook the soup until the raw flour taste is no longer there, 2-3 minutes at least.

3. Add crumbled saltines or oyster crackers to the soup and let them dissolve. They will thicken the soup. I’ve done this and the soup thickens beautifully. You may need to help the crackers to dissolve by mashing them with your spoon, as described in the 1st method.

Enjoy your soup, perfect for a day like what we’re having in our neck of the woods. The heat has disappeared, replaced by coolness and cloudiness. I’ll take it!