There is always time for Clam Chowder in the winter time when the cold is going around and all you want is a tasty meal that you can also eat the bowl (recipe for the bread bowls is here). I typically make this Clam Chowder and Bread Bowls during the mid-winter weather when it is rainy here in Seattle. I start by making the bread bowls first and once those are ready and hanging out I get the clam chowder done. It’s a nice combo since making the bread bowls takes little active time and more couch sitting while the dough rises and such 😉
Alright, let’s begin.
You will first want to put your potatoes and clam juice to boil. I know, clam juice doesn’t sound very appetizing but trust me, it makes a world of difference in the flavor of the clam chowder.
Next, get your bacon all crispy and loved in a pot which will hold your clam chowder. I made the mistake to use a skillet as I forgot that this is a one pot recipe (hey hey) I like my bacon to be a little meaty than pure crisp, so cook however you prefer 🙂
Next you want to get your celery and onion chopped up. When your bacon is ready, set it aside and toss in the celery and onion into the fats and saute (note the vessel change) 😉
Toss in your garlic and bay leaves. Saute until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes and proceed to toss in your chopped bacon.
Let the flavors marry for about a minute. At this point double check that your potatoes are close to ready. It is fine if they are a little hard, since they will be doing further cooking once we get the chowder all together.
Alright, so at this point you will add in your flour. STIR STIR STIR. If you let the flour sit, it will brown quickly, so lower your heat if you need to while you stir the mixture. You basically are stirring the flour until the flour smell tones down because that smell can be in your soup and you don’t want no clam chowder tasting like flour.
Once your flour mixture is ready for some liquid, go ahead and pour in just the clam juice slowly while you whisk the mixture. If a potato chunk falls in that is fine, but we want to just get the liquids in first. The mixture will bubble and be very thick so keep pouring in the clam juice and once you reach the end of it, toss in the potatoes. Add in your half and half.
While that is getting heated up, get your clams drained and ready. You can add the clam juices from the can if you like, however I like my chowder to be thick so I avoid adding more liquid unless I really have to.
Lastly, add in the red vinegar
At this point, set the heat to low, and stir occasionally until the potatoes are soft and the clams are cooked through about 15 minutes.
3-8oz bottles clam juice
1 Russet potato, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp butter
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 c. chopped onions
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried)
1/4 c. flour
1 ½ cups clams, chopped
1 1/4 c. half and half
1 tsp red vinegar
Put the chopped potatoes and bottled clam juice to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer while covered until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until bacon is brown and crispy (or to your preference). Toss in the onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf. Sauté until soft and onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown). Gradually whisk in clam juice that is sitting with the potatoes . Add potatoes, clams, half and half and red vinegar. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently over medium low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Recipe was inspired by Epicurious.