Clammy Confessions

SIMPLE NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER WITH ROASTED CORN + BACON

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Okay, confession time.

I don’t eat clam chowder for the clams.

I know. Can we still be friends?

The clams are okay.  Sometimes I eat them but if it’s a low quality restaurant or buffet chowder, I often eat around them. I’m into chowder for the potatoes and the rest of the creamy goodness rather than for the clams.

So why not just eat cream of potato soup?  I could but I still like the faint briny taste of the chowder.  New England Clam Chowder is the embodiment of a winter beach scene.  Picture yourself tucked away in a cozy seaside cottage near a crackling fireplace as you watch the choppy waves break over a snow-scattered shoreline.  Now imagine that feeling in taste form.  Delicious.

Onto my recipe for New England Clam Chowder with Roasted Corn & Bacon. It’s super easy to make because it uses canned clams instead of fresh.  And don’t worry all you mollusk lovers, it has plenty of them.

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During the cooking process, don’t worry if your soup looks like unattractive dishwater with a bay leaf in it.  It happens.

Cooking Clam Chowder


Clam Chowder
SIMPLE CLAM CHOWDER WITH ROASTED CORN + BACON

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Author:

Recipe Type: Soup

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Even without cream or half-and-half, this New England Clam Chowder is rich and creamy.  Perfect in a crusty bread bowl for a chilly winter day or paired with a fresh green salad for a summer lunch.

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Chowder Ingredients

2 cups + 3 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth
2 cups 2% milk
8 oz. clam juice
2 cans chopped clams (6.5 oz. each)
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cubed
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 pound red skin potatoes, 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic
1/3 tablespoon celery seeds
2 bay leaves
Salt, pepper, thyme

Roasted Corn Ingredients

1/2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook 5 to 7 minutes until brown.  Remove bacon from rendered fat with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add onion and celery to the rendered fat and cook 8 to 10 minutes until tender.
  3. Add garlic and celery seed.  Cook another minute.
  4. Add flour and 3 tablespoons of chicken broth.  Stir for a minute to make a roux then add the rest of the chicken broth and clam juice (including the juice from the canned clams).
  5. Add milk, potatoes, bay leaves and a sprinkle of thyme.  Stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove bay leaves.  Add clams and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to heat the clams.
  8. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add corn.
  9. Stirring frequently, cook for 10 minutes until the kernels have browned.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Add the bacon to the corn and cook for another minute to ensure the bacon is warm.
  12. Ladle the chowder into bowls.  Top with roasted corn and bacon mixture.  Serve with oyster crackers.

Pairs Well With

Block_Salad        Block_Bread_Bowl        Cornbread      Fried Green Tomatoes

Hints

* If you don’t have bacon, substitute salt pork or Canadian bacon.  As a last resort, brown slices of deli ham in a skillet and cut into strips to mix with the corn.  Ham is a decent, albeit somewhat lackluster, alternative to bacon.  Because you can’t brown the vegetables in the drippings, the chowder loses some of its original depth of flavor.

* Are you a big fan of corn?  Mix a portion of the roasted corn into the chowder before serving.  Although I love corn, I skip this step because my mother isn’t crazy about it.

* To recreate the chowder photographed above, serve in a brightly colored mug.  Top with a creamed corn-ham mixture and a Ritz cracker. (As previously mentioned, the roasted corn and bacon mixture is worlds better.)

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