I’m posting another soup recipe. Blame it on the weather. Blame it on the soon-to-expire half gallon of organic milk I have in the fridge. I used to make clam chowder often since it’s my hubby’s favorite soup, but confess it’s been a few years since the last batch. He’s grown accustomed to ordering it when we’re out and never grows tired trying some restaurant’s version. This recipe isn’t as thick and creamy as many versions found at mainstream restaurants. It’s a bit more refined, but with a lot of flavor. I’m not using fresh clams because I’m not feeling particularly adventurous today, and don’t mind admitting that I sometimes take shortcuts when I cook. Try it sometime. It’s quite liberating.
Rainy Day Clam Chowder
For a vegetarian version, simply remove the bacon. This soup serves 4 and can easily be doubled.
2 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and steamed in the microwave
1/3 lb. bacon
5 Tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup white wine
2 6.5 oz. cans of chopped clams in juice
2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1. Steam potatoes in microwave until tender when pierced; remove and set aside to cool.
2. Cook bacon in a skillet; remove and set aside to cool.
3. In a medium-size stock pot , add 2 Tbsp. butter and sauté onion, celery, and garlic under medium heat until very tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. While onion mixture is cooking, chop potatoes and bacon in a small dice and place in a bowl. Remove onion mixture from pot and spoon into bowl with potatoes and bacon.
4. Return stock pot to stove and under medium heat melt remaining 3 Tbsp. butter; add flour and stir constantly until mixture turns to a smooth paste. Continue to cook roux for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Measure wine and strain out clam juice from cans into measuring cup with wine. Slowly add wine-clam juice mixture to roux, stirring constantly until liquid thickens. Stir in milk. Add clams and ingredients from bowl to soup. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.