This soup should start with bacon, but since it is Lent the pig must go. Any other time and…well, BACON.
It is what I missed most when I was a vegetarian, although the veggie bacon I did eat wasn’t bad at all. Actually, it was a lot easier to make and way less messy.
Moving on. Even without bacon this soup is good and simple. It doesn’t have a ton of fancy spices, so it’s comforting on the palate.
This chowder could have been thicker. Next time I’ll probably make a larger roux or use and immersion blender to break down some of the potatoes, but overall I really enjoyed it.
5 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced/grated
3 small onions, diced finely
32 oz. (4 cups) seafood stock
32 oz. (4 cups) water
2, 6.5 oz. cans of clams in juice
1, 8 oz. jar of clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
2 Bay leaves
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1. In large soup/stock pot, heat butter and oil over medium-low to medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add flour and stir into the fat well, cooking for about 5 minutes. Stir constantly while making the roux (flour+fat), this will make the soup thicken.
2. Add the seafood stock, water, carrots, celery, potatoes and Bay leaves. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes or until potatoes start to soften. Add the clams (w/ their juice) and the jar of clam juice. Taste and add salt to your liking. (You can add salt before this step, but I usually wait because the clams and clam juice typically have a lot of salt.) Bring back to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for another 20 minutes.
3. With heat on low or off, add in the heavy cream. (You can use milk to make this a little less caloric. Or you could just eat a salad with the soup and call it even. Decisions, decisions.)
4. You can either add your final seasonings of salt and pepper and serve immediately, or you could wait a day and let the flavors meld overnight and because absolutely fabulous. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and oyster crackers. (Note: I usually add pepper at the end of cooking because it can sometimes go bitter when cooked in a dish.)