This delicious, creamy Best Clam Chowder is the perfect soup to serve for a lighter holiday meal.
8-10bacon strips, divided
2celery ribs, chopped
1leek, finely chopped
1large onion, chopped
2-3garlic cloves, minced
3-4small potatoes (red potatoes or Yukon gold), peeled and cubed
1cupbroth, chicken or vegetable
1bottle, 8 ounces clam juice
3cans, 6-1/2 ounces each of whole clams, chopped into chunky pieces, drained
Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish
In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Add butter to the drippings (you can spoon out some of the drippings if you don’t want to ues that much); saute celery, leek, and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, broth, clam juice, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into the soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in (drained) 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 in 4 strips of crumbled bacon.
Crumble the reserved 2 strips of bacon. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives.
Originally posted December 2014 on Reluctant Entertainer