New England Clam Chowder

It’s cold. Snow and ice are everywhere. We’ve had the fire blazing constantly and are always snuggled under blankets. It’s the kind of weather that makes me want to eat big bowls of soup. All. the. time.

This chowder is hearty and delicious and surprisingly easy to throw together.  Serve it with lots of warm, crusty bread.  Or even these cheddar bacon biscuits.
clam chowder

you will need:
4-6 slices crispy bacon, chopped
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 leek, cleaned and (the white part only) thinly sliced
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
2 cups potatoes, diced
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups clam juice (or vegetable broth)
1 ½ cups little neck clams
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup half & half
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Place a saucepan over medium heat and brown bacon until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Set the bacon aside to cool, then coarsely chop. Drain all but 2 tablespoons grease, then melt butter. Add onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add leek and corn and continue to sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Once onions and leeks are translucent, add thyme and potatoes and stir until combined. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture and stir well to create a thick roux, making sure all of the flour is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Continue to stir and cook for an additional minute to cook off the flour taste.

While whisking, pour clam juice (or broth) into the mixture in a steady stream until fully incorporated and no lumps remain. Turn the heat down to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens and potatoes are almost fork tender. You may need to add ¼ to ½ cup more clam juice if the mixture becomes too thick while simmering.

Gently fold in clams and slowly stir in milk and half & half. Allow mixture to simmer on low for 5 to 7 minutes more. Add garlic powder, cayenne and a bit more salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your liking. Serve in large bowls and garnish with chopped bacon.

*Note: You do not want to cook the chowder too long with the clams in it, otherwise they will get chewy.  Also, use this within 2 to 3 days of making it.

serves: 4
time: 45 minutes
adapted slightly from: Spoon Fork Bacon

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