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Monday, January 23, 2012

Clam Chowder

It has been pretty cold outside here lately and my favorite thing to make when the weather is bad is home made soup. It is one of the first things I learned when I started school (before then I couldn't make a soup from scratch to save my life)
But my husband isn't much of a soup guy but this clam chowder won him over, it is the best.
My camera is pretty out of focus so there aren't many pictures. I will explain how to do it and then the recipe will be at the bottom of the post. 

First thing you want to do is peel and cut your potatoes get them boiling in your chicken stock/broth
When they are tender remove from heat (do not drain)

 In a large sauce pot brown and crumble your bacon then remove bacon pieces, throw in your celery onion and garlic (into the same pot) if there isn't enough bacon fat you can add a little butter to saute.
Once they are tender add the 1/4 c of butter and melt, gradually stir in the flour cook 2-5 min (do not let it brown) this is going to create almost a paste it's called the roue method this is be your thickening agent for the soup. 

Gradually whisk in the reserved clam juice and chicken stock whisk till smooth
 Pour in your potato mixture(broth and all) clams, half & half, bacon pieces, thyme and bay leaves
Simmer 20-30 minutes to blend flavors stirring frequently
Add heavy cream 15 minutes before serving, season with salt (kosher is best) and pepper.

New England Clam Chowder
24 oz chicken stock or clam juice
4-6 potatoes peeled and cute into medium size pieces
1/4 C butter
6 slices of bacon raw and finely chopped
3 C onion chopped small
1 1/2 c celery chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 C + 1 Tbsp flour
1 C chicken stock
2-4 small cans or 1 large can chopped clams (drained with juice reserved)
2 C half and half
1 C heavy cream
1 tsp thyme
salt & pepper

Bring 24 oz chicken stock and potatoes to a boil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 min, remove from heat

Cook bacon in heavy sauce pot over medium heat until it begins to brown (about 8 minutes) remove bacon pieces, to the bacon fat add onion celery and garlic. Saute until they are soften (about 10 minutes) add some butter if needed to moisten the vegetables during saute

Add 1/4 C butter and melt, stirring. Gradually stir in flour. Cook 2-5 minutes do not allow flour to brown
Gradually whisk in reserved clam juice and chicken stock, whisk until smooth and bubbly
Add potato mixture, clams, half and half, bacon pieces, thyme and bay leaves.
Simmer chowder 20-30 minutes to blend flavors, stir frequently
Add heavy cream 15 minutes before serving season with salt and pepper.
Remove bay leaves before serving.

This is a great dinner serve in a bread bowl or with fresh rolls. It also freezes very well if you have left overs. I freeze mine and pull it out for lunches and it tastes great.

Some times my recipes can be confusing so if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave a comment!

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