There is a chill in the air and that means we are in soup season. There is a classic soup that is a real favorite more many and that is clam chowder. If you don’t know, clam chowder is a simple soup to prepare with just a few pantry ingredients. If you look around for chowder recipes will find some recipes call for fresh clams but I actually like using canned clams as they are easier because all you have to do is open a can. They are also budget friendly compared to live clams that can cost you $10 a pound. You also get the benefit of more flavor from canned clams from their juices they come with.
With this recipe you can make it very thick or light and creamy depending on how you like your chowder. Just make sure you have plenty of oyster crackers on hand as they go perfect with this hearty soup.
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tsp. Rockin' Roasted Garlic seasoning
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, juices reserved
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cup half and half*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Heat up a Dutch oven or a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add in the bacon and cook until brown and crispy (about 6 to 8 minutes). Remove the bacon and place on paper towels. Put aside one tablespoon of excess fat from pan.
- Melt butter in the stockpot then add garlic and onion. Cook while stirring often until the onions take on a translucent appearance (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add in thyme and continue to stir until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Whisk in the flour until it turns slightly brown. Gradually whisk in the vegetable stock, milk, clam juice and bay leaf. Continue to whisk constantly until slightly thickened which should take about 1 to 2 minutes, then you can stir in the potatoes.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. This may take up to 15 minutes or so.
- Stir in the half and half and add the clams. Heat until they are heated fully and then season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is to thick for your then add a bit more half and half until you reach the desired consistency.
- Serve with a garnish of bacon and parsley if you desire.
*Note: Half and half is equal to parts of whole milk and cream. For 1 cup of half and half, you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk plus 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2/3 cup skim milk or low-fat milk plus 1/3 cup heavy cream.