Clam Chowder

I do not understand clam juice, and I was more than a little worried about using an entire bottle. It seems like it should be akin to using an entire bottle of fish sauce, which should never, ever happen. Alas, clam juice is apparently diluted so that even a whole bottle will not make your soup very fishy-tasting. So don’t worry. Just upended that whole bottle and let it be. 

Recipe adapted from Reluctant Entertainer

bacon pieces, to taste

2 Tbsp. butter

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 leek, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 small potatoes, cubed

2-4 cups chicken broth (depending on how thick you like your chowder) 

1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle rosemary and/or oregano 

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups half-and-half, divided

3 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) of chopped clams, drained

Bay leaf

Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish

1. Heat butter and a drizzle of olive oil or bacon grease in a Dutch oven; saute celery, leek, and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. 

2. Stir in the potatoes, broth, clam juice, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. (Start with less broth. You can always add more later.) 

3. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

4. In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into the soup. 

5. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

6. Stir in clams and remaining half-and-half; heat through (do not boil); turn down to low heat; add the bay leaf. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes on low heat. Add bacon to taste.

4. Ladle into bowls. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives, and/or oyster crackers.


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