Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feast Your Eyes > Clam Chowder

Baby, It's cold out there.  Okay it's not really but yesterday it was 26 degrees at 6AM, today it's 44 degrees at 6AM.  There is nothing like a bowl of soup, chowder or stew when it's cold.

I just read that January is GO month as in "Get Organized", but I think January should be SOUP month.  In honor of my designating January as SOUP month I am going to share my easy Clam Chowder (Potato soup) recipe with you.

A few things that you should know about the way I cook:
  • I sometimes forget to put an ingredient in.
  • I hardly ever salt anything unless I'm following a new recipe or I am baking.  I don't do this intentionally, it just happens.

I have never had this recipe turn out bad - even when I didn't add the bacon, or the time I didn't have any clams and it became Potato Soup, or didn't have any celery, or the time I added a few carrots, or the time I didn't have half and half and used milk, or the millions of times when I didn't use chicken broth or last night when I forgot to add the salt and overcooked the potatoes because I was distracted.

So there you have it - a no fail recipe, which is the very best kind.

Here's what you'll need:

Oh - and one more ingredient :

and here's a bonus photography tip:

Don't feel all superior to your box of chicken stock and stand above it, but get down on it's level and snap that picture.  Learn from my mistakes.


8 cups coarsely chopped potatoes
32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
¼ lb sliced bacon, crisp-cooked, drained
Chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
2 cans minced clams, drained
32 oz. half and half
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
¼ tsp pepper

Add potatoes and salt to chicken broth.  Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, brown bacon.  When bacon is about half-way done, add celery and onion and continue to sauté till bacon is crisp.  Drain bacon grease.

Add bacon, celery, onion, clams, half and half, cream cheese, condensed soup, and pepper.

Simmer for about a half hour and thicken with cornstarch or flour.

Now for the tips:

  • How much is 8 cups of coarsely chopped potatoes?  I don't know and I don't measure.  However many potatoes I have I put in enough chicken broth to cover them - last night I didn't even cover them all the way because I used all my chicken broth.
  • I used red potatoes because that's what I had, but you can use any kind of potato.  Also, check it out - I didn't peel them.  I'm kind of lazy like that - If I use red or Yukon gold potatoes, I don't peel them.  I like big chunks of potato because I tend to forget I'm cooking and little chunks always end up as Cream of Clam Chowder but it's all still good.
  • How much is 1/4 lb bacon? I don't know that either.  Use as much bacon as you want - really you can not ruin this recipe.

  • Notice how my onion is considerably bigger than the celery. Why, just because that's the way I like it.  If you want big chunks of celery - go for it.
  • I usually drain my clams and use the liquid from one can of clams with the chicken broth to cook the potatoes.  Last night I didn't add any clam juice and IT TURNED OUT DELICIOUS!!!  Like a lot of clam flavor - use more clam juice.
  • I used all the half and half last night, but if I don't use a lot of potatoes I will not use the whole 32 oz. Or, if I have more potatoes, I'll put some milk in also. At times I've also used all milk and no half and half. Any variation of this will turn out great.
  • I cut the cream cheese in small chunks and add.  I used to cream it together with the cream of chicken soup but I'm too lazy to do that most of the time (I also don't want to get another dish dirty.)
  • I've cooked this for longer than a half hour and again it turned out fine.
  • Oh and one more tip - don't like clams, this make a wonderful potato soup.
A note about thickening your Clam Chowder:
I like to use cornstarch as a thickener because you can not mess it up.  How much cornstarch depends on how thick you want your chowder.  I like my chowder thick.  I mix the cornstarch with cold water and pour it slooooowwwwlllllyyyyy into chowder while stirring.  When it gets to the thickness I want I stop.  I don't always use all of the thickener and sometimes I have to mix up a little bit more.  Again, you can not mess this up. A guesstimate for how much I use:
1/2 c. cold water
4 heaping TBL Cornstarch.
Stir till cornstarch is dissolved.

You can also use flour to thicken but you'll have to look that method up as I'm faithful to cornstarch and don't stray.

There you have it - the "Can't Mess This Clam Chowder Up" recipe.  Oh, and I forgot to take a picture of my bowl of Clam Chowder before I chowed it down, because it was way to good to stop eating and take it's picture. Sorry!

- Laurie 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...