This recipe is hearty and creamy without being laden with needless calories and fat. It has that great clam flavor and wonderful creaminess with hints of bacon. It took me quite a while to get this recipe just right. For such a simple dish it took a lot of tweaking the ingredients to get both the flavor and body I wanted. This is one of my favorite soups when it is prepared well. Served with crusty bread or better yet in a bread bowl this soup is a great rainy day meal.
Well it was a bit of a long weekend for us. We were out of town for a friend's wedding which left me little time to blog so I apologize for the lag in posts lately. I promise to make it up to you this week! After TWO 10 hour car rides in a mere three days I couldn't bring myself to sit in a chair staring at my computer! It was definitely worth it though; we got to see many of our old friends from college and catch up which was a ton of fun. Lots of drinks, dancing, and laughs... back to real life for now though.
This soup is super simple and re-heats very well which are two of my favorite characteristics in a recipe! As for modifying the recipe you can lighten it up if you want by swapping out the half and half for 2% milk mixed with 1 T. flour. You can also opt to use all canned clams or all fresh clams if you prefer one over the other (or one is hard to find). I, personally, like the combination of the two in my dishes so I use a little bit of both here.
So give this recipe a try if you are in the mood for a warm, creamy dinner one night and let me know what you think. We both really enjoyed it!
Clam Chowder Recipe
yields 4 dinner size servings
2 lbs clams, well scrubbed**
1 can (7 oz) minced clams
1/4 lb bacon
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 8 oz bottle clam juice
1/2 cup water
3/4 lbs red potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 t. fresh thyme
1/2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 cup half and half
2 cup 2% milk (additional milk as necessary to achieve desired consistency)
bread for serving
1) Place the tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Roughly chop bacon and heat in the oil until crispy. Remove the bacon from the dutch oven and place on a paper towel to drain.
2) Place the onions in the hot oil and bacon grease and saute until translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute for an additional minute. Pour in the wine and clam juice. Add the raw clams, place the lid on the pot, and steam the clams until all are open (about 10 minutes). If any remain un-opened discard them.
3) Remove the clams from the pot using a slotted spoon. Add the 1/2 cup water and the potatoes and allow to simmer uncovered until the potatoes begin to soften (about 10 minutes).
4) While the potatoes cook carefully remove the clams from their shells. If you prefer smaller pieces then roughly chop the clams after you have removed them from the shell. Drain and rinse the canned clams and set all aside. You can leave a few clams in their shells to serve if you like.
5) When the potatoes have softened add the clams, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered until it reaches desired consistency (about 10-30 minutes).
6) Before serving sprinkle with bacon and additional pepper or thyme if desired.
7) Serve with garlic bread, baguettes, or in a bread bowl.
**I used mahogany but you can use little-neck if that is what you prefer.