Thursday, December 16, 2010

It was a chowder kind of day.

Monday night the storm rolled in, complete with rain and wind, and lots of it. Tuesday morning opened to a downpour.....While the rain had let up momentarily by mid-day, the wind kept going and blowing and brought more and more and more rain at a steady drizzle all day long. The lakes in the front yard stayed there all day. It was no day to go outside and play!! Clam Chowder was in order!!

Let me give you a little head's up here. This is NOT traditional white creamy clam chowder. That stuff's everywhere.....Most recipes would call for twice as many cans of clams and would have you use the diced (vs. minced) variety. You can certainly do that - in fact, if you prefer larger pieces of clam you SHOULD do that!!

For me though, I wanted a little less clams and the addition of..... drum roll please........ BACON!!!

You'll need:
4 cans minced clams
2 bottles clam juice
Carrots - you can use baby carrots or regular ones - about 2 cups, sliced very thin
1/4 of a bunch of celery, sliced thin, include the centers with the leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2/3 of a package of thin sliced bacon
6-8 red potatoes, depending on size, diced into about 1/2" cubes
1 bay leaf
seasonings - you can add thyme, salt & pepper or anything else you choose!
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Heavy Cream

Cut up the bacon into small pieces - I find cutting it with scissors works well - you want pieces about 1/2" wide. Place in a large stock pot and cook until brown:

Remove from the pan and set aside:

Add the onion and garlic to the pan, cook for a couple minutes:

Next add the celery, cook a minute or so:

And then add the carrots, mix well and cook another minute or so:

Add in the potatoes, mix well, allow it to cook for just a minute or two:

Pour in both bottles of clam juice. IF you find that it doesn't quite cover the potatoes, as mine didn't:

Add enough water to mostly cover the potatoes. Add the bay leaf and mix well and turn the heat up and allow this to boil until the potatoes are cooked. Remove the bay leaf. Add in all 4 cans of minced clams along with their juice, hot sauce if using, Worcestershire, bacon and any other seasoning you want to use.

Cream... it's magical stuff. Don't substitute milk or even half & half. Just trust me here. HEAVY whipping cream is what you want - the stuff that's 35% fat..... And you wondered why creamy soups are so tasty? It's the cream baby!!

Mix well and then start adding the cream until you have it to the consistency that you like. I ended up using 2 pints of cream and then some corn starch & water to thicken it.

It ends up having sort of a golden glow to it. YUM!! Top with fresh cracked pepper and serve with fresh bread if you've got it!!

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