Clam Chowder

 

I haven’t met a chowder I didn’t like.  That includes this one.  I mean, what’s not to like………….bacon, potatoes, heavy cream!  Have I said enough?!

I must admit, this clam chowder is more brothy than your usual chowders.  I like it this way because the ingredients are already very rich in flavor.  I don’t want the texture to be too heavy.

I actually had to drink up some of the broth to get this shot of all the good stuff in this chowder.  That, and it gave me an excuse to eat more than I needed!

The next cold day we have, try this chowder and I’m sure it will warm you up quick!

 

Clam Chowder

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

3 cups 1/2-inch cubed, peeled potatoes, about 1 1/4 pounds

2 cans (10 oz) clams with juice

3 cups clam juice

3 cups water

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt

In a large heavy pot cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered. Pour off all bacon fat except 2 tablespoons. Add the butter, onions and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and cook until the vegetables are thoroughly wilted (about 3 minutes) being careful not to brown. Add the potatoes, clam broth and water, and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broth thickens slightly and the potatoes are very tender. (If you like a thicker broth, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.) Remove from the heat, stir in clams and heavy cream and season with pepper and salt, if necessary.

Set aside for 1 hour, covered, to allow the flavors to marry. Place the pot over low heat, and slowly reheat, being careful not to bring to the boil.  Be sure to remove the  bay leaves and sprigs of thyme before serving.

 

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Chicken Corn Chowder

One of my favorite vegetables is corn and my favorite type of soup is chowder.  This chicken corn chowder definitely brings together the best of both worlds.

I will take a chowder over chicken noodle soup any day of the week.  I like the stick-to-your-ribs kind of chowders and stews.  I think the cold weather really brings that out in me.

The chowder provides a wonderful balance of sweet and savory, smoothness and crunch.  It is definitely a hearty soup and a bowl of this is enough for a meal.

I took this picture the day after I made the chowder, so it had thickened quite a bit.  It was easily remedied with some extra chicken broth, but I like my chowder a bit chunky.  Some chowders can be very high in fat and calories, so I used fat free half-and-half instead of heavy cream and you wouldn’t even know it.  What’s better than guilt-free chowder?

Chicken Corn Chowder

4 tbsp butter

4 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 cans sweet corn, drained

3 cups chicken broth

2 potatoes, diced

2 cups chicken breast, cooked, diced

2 cups fat free half-and-half

pinch grated nutmeg

salt and pepper

Melt butter and olive oil in large pot.  Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add flour and stir to make a roux.  Cook until roux is lightly browned; set aside.  Combine corn and chicken in another pot and bring to a boil. Pour the broth and corn (a little at a time) into the roux and whisk so it doesn’t create lumps.  Return pot to the heat and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and chicken.  Mixture should be very thick.  Pour the half-and-half into the corn mixture.  Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.