It was really cold last night, and what's better on a cold night than a bowl of clam chowder soup and a hunk of crusty sourdough bread? That's what we had for dinner last night. And since we didn't have to worry about getting anyone to bed by a certain time, we ate by the fireplace, lingering over our meal. It was heavenly.
This is a super easy version of clam chowder because it uses canned clams and clam juice instead of fresh. While there are times that I like to make fresh clam chowder, last night wasn't one of them. Like I was going to go to a fish market after working all day and in the freezing (for San Diego) cold. Not much. Considering the amount of time it saves, I'd say it's worth giving up a little bit of flavor. It's *almost* as good as the real thing. This recipe is adapted from The Best 30-Minute Recipe which I raved about here.
2 cans of minced clams (6.5 oz each)
2 bottles of clam juice
2 medium red potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch chunks
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 slices turkey bacon, finely chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup flour
1/2 cup soy creamer or heavy cream
1 tablespoon italian parsley, minced
1. Drain the cans of minced clams, reserving the clam juice
2. In a saucepan, combine the reserved clam juice, the 2 bottles of clam juice, the diced potatoes, the thyme, and the bay leaf.
3. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Let the clam broth cook while you prepare the rest.
4. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven and heat to medium-high. Fry the bacon until it is brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. *Note: I used a little oil because turkey bacon doesn't have much fat in it. If you use regular bacon, then omit the oil.
5. Add the shallot and the salt and and cook on medium heat until tender and slightly brown, about 4 minutes. *Note: I used a shallot because my husband doesn't like onions. Personally, I think onions would be better.
6. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
7. Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
8. Add the clam broth to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil
9. Turn down the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
10. Add the minced clams, parsley, and creamer and bring to a simmer for about 2 minutes. *Note: I used soy creamer because my husband is allergic to milk. I would DEFINITELY use real cream if I could!
Serve with slices of sourdough or French bread and a side salad.
P.S. When I first served this, my husband wanted to know why it wasn't white. It's because I used the same Dutch oven to fry the bacon and cook the soup. If you have to have a white clam chowder soup, you can use a separate pan to fry the bacon, and just use regular oil to brown the shallots and garlic. I wasn't about to wash an extra pan just so my soup could be white...