I wanted to cook some soup as the weather here in the USA is getting colder but, after the indulgence of Thanksgiving last week, we didn’t want anything too heavy. I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website – it’s an award winning low calorie version, but I took it up a notch and substituted some cream instead of making it entirely with ‘half and half’. Of course if you want low calories then feel free to make the swap back.
The crispy bacon on the top of the chowder adds extra flavour and texture to the dish.
This is perfect as an easy dinner in the busy festive season, or even as an appetizer for your Christmas meal.
Ingredients – serves 4-6:
- 4 rashers bacon (use ‘streaky’ bacon if you are outside the USA)
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup water
- 230g/8 oz bottle clam juice (or fish stock)
- 1 teaspoon reduced salt chicken bouillon granules (or 1 stock cube, crushed)
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/3 cup plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 cup ‘half and half’ (or 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1/2 cup cream)
- 1 cup cream
- 2 cans (185g/6.5 oz each) chopped clams, un-drained
- fresh parsley leaves, optional, finely chopped, to serve
- In a Dutch oven (or large pan), cook the bacon until crisp. Place on a piece of paper towel to drain and cool.
- Sauté the celery and onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the potatoes, water, clam juice (or fish stock), bouillon granules, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Mix the half and half (or milk/cream) with the cream in a jug.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and 1 cup of the cream mixture until smooth. Gradually stir into the chowder, bring to a simmer, cook and stir for about 1 – 2 minutes until thickened. Be careful not to break up the potatoes.
- Stir in the clams and the remaining cream mixture.
- Heat the chowder through well but do not let it boil.
- Divide the chowder between your serving bowls. Crumble the cooked bacon and sprinkle over each serving, then garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley if you have it.