I was going to call this recipe ‘clam chowder’, but let’s face it… it’s not loaded with cream and it certainly isn’t white. Instead I call this rustic clam and vegetable soup because I think that title suits it much better. While still thick and creamy, my clam chowder is a heartier and lighter version of what you get when you’d order it at a restaurant. I usually start this soup by frying up a couple of slices of apple wood smoked bacon, but I was out. If you’ve got some, after frying… use a tablespoon of the drippings to cook your vegetables in instead of olive oil. It gives the soup a really smoky flavor. Also, when I have it on hand, I use fresh thyme, but today I went with dried. Use whatever you’ve got on hand. I don’t recommend freezing this soup as the potatoes will break down quite a bit when trying to reheat and the soup will become mushy… which nobody wants. Serve with a bit of minced Italian parsley and freshly cracked black pepper.
What You Need:
2 small cans clams and their juices (I like Snow’s or Crown Prince)
4 cups chicken stock – I used homemade (broth would work also)
½ - ¾ cup ½ ‘n ½ at room temperature (to taste – depends how creamy you like it)
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces (any potato would work here)
2 large stalks celery, ½ “dice
4 small – med carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium – large brown onion, ½ “dice
6-8 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
¼ - ½ tsp kosher salt & black pepper (to taste)
½ tsp dried thyme
3 Tbs butter (I used unsalted, but any kind would work)
3 Tbs flour (I used whole wheat pastry, but any kind will work)
What To Do:
Sauté carrot, celery and onion in olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot for 10-12 minutes or until veggies are deeply browned. Add garlic during the last minute of cooking. Season with salt, pepper and dried thyme.
Push the vegetable mixture to the sides of the pot and melt butter in the well you created. Once the butter is mostly melted add the flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.
Slowly add stock in 1 cup increments, scraping the browned bits off the bottom, over medium high heat until thick and bubbly. This will take about 4 minutes.
Add the potato to the pot and simmer over medium low heat for about 10 minutes or until tender. Depending on the size of your potato chunks – the smaller you cut, the faster it cooks.
Remove from heat and add your ½ ‘n ½ and clams (with juices). Serve soup garnished with fresh Italian parsley and freshly cracked black pepper if desired.
Makes 7 – 1 cup servings