Best Clam Chowder is easy to make "from scratch," with creamy soup flavors that mingle together with bacon, clams--for the very best chowder!Makes 4 main dish bowls or 6 small lunch bowls.
8bacon strips, divided
2celery ribs, chopped
1leek, finely chopped (or 1 shallot)
1large onion, chopped
2-3garlic cloves, minced
3-4small unpeeled potatoes (red potatoes or Yukon gold), cubed into 1/2-inch pieces (optional to peel)
2cupsbroth, chicken or vegetable
3cans6-1/2 ounces each of chopped clams, undrained
Optional to add in more clam juice for a more intense flavor.
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, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 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 clams and juice 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.TIP: Optional to add in more clam juice in this step, if you choose a more clam flavor.
Crumble the reserved 4 strips of bacon. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives or green onions thinly sliced.
Originally posted December 2014 on Reluctant Entertainer