Clam chowder, with its rich and creamy broth, tender clams, and hearty potatoes, is a beloved comfort food that has warmed the hearts of many for generations. Whether you’re craving a bowl of steaming chowder on a chilly winter evening or looking to impress your guests with a delectable seafood soup, making homemade clam chowder is a satisfying endeavor. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps of creating a comforting bowl of clam chowder from scratch.
For the Clam Chowder Base:
- 2 cans (10 ounces each) of whole baby clams, with juice
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups of diced potatoes (Yukon Gold or russet)
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 2 cups of half-and-half or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Prep the Clams: a. Drain the clam juice from the canned clams into a bowl and set the clams aside. b. If necessary, chop the clams into smaller pieces.
- Cook the Bacon: a. In a large soup pot, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until it’s crispy. b. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.
- Sauté the Vegetables: a. In the same pot with the bacon grease, add the chopped onion and diced celery. Sauté them until they become tender and the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. b. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Create the Chowder Base: a. Sprinkle the flour over the sautéed vegetables and stir well to combine, creating a roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. b. Gradually pour in the chicken broth while stirring continuously to avoid lumps. c. Add the diced potatoes and bay leaf to the pot. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Finish the Chowder: a. Pour in the reserved clam juice and the half-and-half or whole milk. Stir to combine. b. Add the chopped clams and the cooked bacon to the chowder. c. Allow the chowder to heat through, but do not let it boil to avoid curdling the dairy. d. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remember that clams can be salty, so taste before adding too much salt.
- Serve and Garnish: a. Remove the bay leaf and discard it. b. Ladle the creamy clam chowder into bowls, garnishing with fresh chopped parsley. c. Serve hot with oyster crackers, crusty bread, or a side salad for a complete meal.
Homemade clam chowder is a classic and comforting dish that brings together the flavors of the sea with the heartiness of a creamy soup. With this recipe, you can create a delicious bowl of chowder that’s sure to warm your soul and satisfy your taste buds. Whether you’re making it for a family dinner or a special occasion, homemade clam chowder is a delightful treat that can be enjoyed year-round. Dive into a bowl of this creamy delight and savor the flavors of the sea!