I love clam chowder. I’ve always loved this lovely soup. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t enjoy this fabulous little creation. It is to me the epitome of comfort food.
Want to know the secret a really good clam chowder? Bacon drippings! Obviously you could skip this and just use olive oil, but the flavor of the bacon really enhances the soup. What’s comfort food without a little naughty? And bacon drippings are definitely naughty. Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone! ;oP
Clam chowder can be made many different ways, and I’ve made various types over the years, but this version is hearty, chunky, and just perfect for a cold winter day! If soup is for dinner, and you like clams, this is the soup for you!
What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (Note: I used a yellow onion this go around, but I usually use red onions instead.)
8 stalks of celery, chopped
4 potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes
2 large carrots, shredded
A generous pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 a teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
4 cups of water
3 bay leaves
6 – 6.5 ounce cans of clams in juice, undrained
1 – 8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1/2 a quart of half and half (Note: I usually use the fat free variety, but regular will work as well. If you want to go really crazy you can use heavy cream!)
Add a little olive oil to the bottom of a very large stock pot and place chopped bacon in the pot and saute until crisp. Remove bacon, leave the bacon drippings.
Add onion, celery and potatoes and cook until the onions and celery are just tender.
Add carrots and stir to mix. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Next add flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for another 2 minutes, but do not let the flour brown.
Next add thyme, salt, pepper and bay leafs, along with the water and stir to mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered until potatoes are fork tender, usually about 30 minutes.
Add clams, clam juice and half and half and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes until soup is heated through and slightly thickened.
Remove bay leafs and serve immediately.
You can also store this soup in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.
Notes: You could add in corn too if you liked, for an even chunkier chowder. Leeks would also be a good addition to this soup.