Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chunky Clam Chowder

Clam chowder has always been a favorite of mine. Even as a child when I ate around the clams and only ate the potatoes- it was still my second favorite soup (after my grandmothers cream of asparagus). This clam chowder has a lot going on- I like to add a bunch of vegetables and bacon to add texture and flavor. This is definitely not your traditional chowder- but I will say that my boss and boyfriend both said it's the best clam chowder they have EVER had- so screw tradition! 

And although this soup is great for a chilly night, it is also fancy enough for a dinner party. And you can make it a few days ahead- allowing the flavors time to meld. Perfection!! 

Chunky Clam Chowder 

3/4 lb thick cut bacon, 5/6 strips minced 
1 tbs butter 
2 cups leeks, thinly sliced and cleaned
1 cup carrots thinly sliced or diced small
3/4 cup red pepper, diced small 
1 cup corn, off cob or frozen 
1 tsp thyme, minced 
1 tsp parsley, minced 
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk 
1 1/2 cups light milk 
1 cup clam juice (8 oz jar) 

1 cup yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced 
2 cups red potatoes, diced, skin on 

2 bay leaves 
3 tbs flour 
1 cup chicken broth 
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning 
4 (6.5 oz) cans of minced or chopped clams, not drained 
1/2 tbs olive oil 
1 1/2 tsp salt 
Fresh pepper to taste

Large pot or Dutch oven 
Wooden spoon 
Slotted spoon 
Measuring cups/spoons
Cutting board 
Chopping knife 

Heat butter and olive oil in soup pot over medium to high heat. Once hot add your diced bacon. Cook bacon until desired consistency. I like mine super crisp. Remove 2/3 of the bacon with the slotted spoon and leave 1/3 in the pan. This does not have to be exact. Turn heat on stove to medium. Do not drain oil. 

Add the leeks, onions and garlic to the remaining bacon and oil. Cook for 5 minutes- stirring every minute or so. Add the red pepper, carrots, minced thyme, and 1/2 tsp of salt to the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Now add the 3 tbs of flour to the pot. Stir constantly. Cook flour and vegetable mixture for a few more minutes. 

Add the diced potatoes to the pot and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix everything together and then add the liquids. Add the heavy cream, whole and light milk, chicken broth and clam juice. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add two bay leaves, 1/2 tsp of salt, pepper to taste and old bay seasoning. Keep the heat at a level that it's simmering and not boiling. 

Simmer for 10-15 minutes before adding the 4 cans of chopped or minced (your preference of size, I used 2 of each) with all their liquids. Add the parsley and bacon you removed earlier- reserving some for garnish if you like-  and cook for another 15 minutes. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving. Or cool completely and put into the fridge- this lasts a week in the fridge. Reheat on the stovetop when ready to serve. Enjoy! Xo

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