March has arrived which means that the warmer weath-er will start to tease us while snapping back to cold just as we’re getting comfortable. Spring break is on the way and for us that means going to the beach! This creamy clam chowder recipe will help warm you up while reminding you that beach days are just around the corner.I prefer to use frozen, chopped clams in this recipe because they seem to taste more fresh. You can usually find them in the seafood freez-er section in your grocery store. You will need to thaw them just before using. If you can’t find the frozen clams, you can certainly use canned chopped clams. The most important thing to remember is do not allow the chowder to boil after you have added your clams or they will become rubbery. Allow them to just heat through while stirring gently. If you have leftovers, store them for 2-3 days in the refrigerator and reheat very low and slow!I serve bowls of this chow-der topped with bacon crum-bles and parsley with some warm bread for dipping. It’s a hearty meal on its own, but also delicious with a salad on the side. Enjoy!
• 6 slices bacon, diced
• 2 Tbsp butter
• 1 yellow onion, diced
• 2 stalks of celery, diced
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp Old Bay (more to taste)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 cup milk (more if needed)
• 1 (8oz) jar of clam juice
• 1 bay leaf
• 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, diced
• 1 cup half and hal
f• 1 lb frozen, chopped clams, thawed (or 2 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams, drained)
• Seasoned salt and ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1) Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
2) Remove all but 1 Tbsp of bacon grease. Add butter into the stockpot with the reserved bacon grease. Add diced onion and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in thyme, Old Bay and minced garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3) Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, clam juice and bay leaf, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in potatoes.
4) Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 12-15 minutes.
5) Turn heat all the way to LOW. Gently stir in half and half and clams until heated through, about 1-2 minutes. Do not allow to come to a boil or the clams will become rubbery!
6) Season with salt (if needed) and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more milk until desired consistency is reached.
7) Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley.
This recipe serves 4-6.
Adapted from IC Recipes