Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Creamy Clam Chowder

Before I go any further, I have a confession.  I've never had clam chowder.  I've never had the canned stuff, a bowl from a restaurant, or any at a friends house.  I'm not really sure why I haven't had any before now.  Now Spencer, on the other hand, LOVES clam chowder.  He is, however, picky when it comes to the chowder.  He'll taste it at restaurants, if available, but he's kind of a snob when it comes to clam chowder.
So, the other day when I asked if he'd like me to make clam chowder for supper his eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. I instantly had my answer, so then it was a matter of finding a recipe that would be good enough for this chowder snob.  We looked a several different recipes before we came across "the one".  And with one glance of the ingredients he was sold.
The base of the chowder is thick and creamy and full of so much flavor.  The pieces of bacon not only add a salty element but also adds a layer of crunchy texture.  It's packed full of tender chunks of potatoes and perfectly sized pieces of clam.  There are so many flavors and textures going on in this soup and they all work together to make a deliciously rich chowder. 
This clam chowder gives you that big, bold, rich taste of a soup that has simmered all day but actually requires very little prep and cook time.  It comes together so quickly, making it perfect for a weeknight meal but that big bold taste that makes it ideal for entertaining or an appetizer before a delicious seafood meal. 

Creamy Clam Chowder
Ingredients:

3 Strips thick bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp + 1 Tsp flour
1 (8oz) bottle clam juice
3 1/2 Cups whole milk
1 Large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 (6.5 oz) cans chopped clams, drained
Dash of hot sauce, optional
Salt
2 Tbsp minced parsley

Directions:

Place bacon and oil in a large stockpot and place over medium heat.  Cook until the bacon begins to crisp, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the flour, and stir continuously for about 2 minutes.  While stirring continuously, slowly pour in the clam juice and bring to a boil.

Once the clam juice is incorporated add the milk, potatoes and hot sauce (if desired) and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Taste, adjust seasonings, if needed.

Ladle the chowder into bowls or cups, garnish with parsley and serve.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from All You

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