Monday, January 21, 2013

New England Clam Chowder

According to the weather man, this week is supposed to be a cold one, with most days only making it up to the low 20's. That is not a thought I happily welcome. However, it does mean plenty of hot soup to keep us all warm and toasty. On the coldest days, a hot and creamy soup really seems to stick to your bones and warm you up from your head to to your toes. This chowder is the perfect balance of texture and flavor thanks to the hearty potatoes and the crispy bacon.

Recipe yields 6 servings

4 strips of bacon
2 celery stalks
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
3 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup cold water
8 oz clam juice
2 tbsp chicken broth
1 tsp thyme
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
13 oz chopped clams

Cut your bacon into small pieces and fry in a large soup pot until golden brown and crispy. Remove pieces onto a paper towel but leave any excess grease at the bottom of the pot.

While your bacon is getting crispy, finely chop your celery, onions and garlic.

Add the vegetables to the pot and stir to coat with the grease. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Peel and small dice your potatoes. Get them ready to join the party!

Add your potatoes, water, clam juice and chicken stock to the pot. Give it a good stir and then toss in your thyme leaves. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of heavy cream and the flour to create a thick paste. Add it to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the second cup of heavy cream and both cans of clams with the juice.

Allow the soup to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency. (I like mine as thick and creamy as can be!) Throw back in your pieces of bacon.

Ladle into bowls and serve with oyster crackers or a piece of baguette. Enjoy!