Being from the Pacific Northwest, I was born and raised on fresh seafood. It is one of the things I miss most about Oregon. It's just not possible to jump in the car and drive for an hour to get to the coast and its abundance of freshly caught fish and crab when you live in the middle of the country. One of my favorite things to eat is clam chowder (I like to be silly and pronounce it chowdah) and thanks to things like canned clams and clam juice, I can still enjoy clam chowder here in Kentucky. The hubby has been requesting clam chowder for about a month now, so I finally put the fixings for the clam chowder into the budget and made a batch last night.
We like to serve ours with crusty bread or sometimes, oyster crackers.
We like our clam chowder very thick, so if you like a thinner broth this is not the recipe for you! I will also add that this is not a light recipe. We only make clam chowder maybe once a year, so when we go for it, we really go for it!
Here's my recipe:
Ingredients (serves 10-12):
6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 lb of bacon, diced
1/2 cup of butter
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic gloves, minced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 1/4 cups flour
8 cups clam juice
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground thyme
4 bay leaves
1 tsp ground black pepper
6 cans canned clams (juice from canned clams will equal about 3 cups of your 8 cups of clam juice)
4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup minced parsley
1. In a large stock pot, boil diced potatoes until crisp-tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside
2. In same pot, cook diced bacon until crispy. Remove from pot with slotted spoon, place on a paper towel, and set aside. Leave 4 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pot, reserve the rest for future use
3. Melt butter in pot with bacon grease. Add onions, garlic, and celery to pot and cook until tender (5-6 minutes)
4. Add flour to pot to make a thick roux
5. Add 2 cups of clam juice and mix well. Continue adding clam juice, stirring continuously, until the mixture is thick, smooth, and creamy
6. Add thyme, bay leaves, black pepper, and red pepper
7. Bring to a boil and then turn temperature down to bring soup to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes
8. Add potatoes, clams, and bacon. Simmer for another 15 minutes
9. Add heavy cream and parsley. Allow mixture to heat, about 1-2 minutes
10. Serve immediately! Garnish with a pat of butter and sprinkle of parsley and serve with bread or crackers.
*Side note* This recipe makes a huge batch! The hubby and I usually get 4 meals out of it, so it actually is pretty economical. We have a FoodSaver so I always freeze 2 large bags of clam chowder after we've already had dinner. The soup freezes and re-heats amazingly well.