New England Clam Chowder

Circle B Kitchen

This is one of the best clam chowders we've had. I've made this 4 times in the last month and have made numerous changes to the original, the most notable being the elimination of cream. If you want your chowder extra rich, by all means, replace some of the milk or half and half for some cream, but this soup is plenty rich without it.

Adapted from a recipe from Epicurious

Makes 2 quarts which will serve about 6

6 cans (6.5 oz) of minced clams (like Snow's), juices reserved

2 bacon slices, minced

1 onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 to 2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 pound potatoes, peeled, diced

2 cups whole milk

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

Drain the clam juice from the minced clams. You should have about 3 cups. Set aside

Cook the bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until lightly crisp, about 8 minutes.

Add the butter to the pan along with the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in the clam juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should be the consistency of heavy cream. Add the bay leaf and fresh thyme.

Add the potatoes and the salt and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the clams and the milk mixture in a saucepan and simmer together for about 5-8 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, add the clams, milk mixture, and pepper to the soup base. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes or so and then remove from the heat to let it thicken up a bit.

Serve in bowls with a fresh, crunchy baguette to dip in that scrumptious broth.