Soup, the perfect meal to nourish the body and soul. What’s not to love about a classic clam chowder soup? It’s jam packed with vegetables, potatoes and delicate clams in a briny, creamy and deliciously rich sauce (I can’t call it a broth). It’s just what you need on a cold night to warm you up from the inside out. Since it’s always warm in south Florida, I enjoy this soup year round – especially on dreary, rainy days.
HERE’S HOW I MADE IT
Start by cooking 4-5 strips of bacon in a skillet over medium heat until all the fat has rendered and the bacon is evenly crispy. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and discard the rest. Drain 3-4 cans of chopped clams, reserving the liquid. Cover the clams with plastic wrap in a glass container and place them in the refrigerator until you add them to the soup at the very end.
In a dutch oven or stock pot, cook the onions, carrots and celery (termed mirepoix) in the reserved bacon fat over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the vegetables soft. Add the diced potatoes, the reserved clam liquid and a small bottle of clam juice. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add 2 cups of whole milk, salt and pepper. Mix 2 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in 1 cup of half and half to create a slurry. Add it to the soup, stir everything together, bring to a rolling simmer and allow the chowder to thicken to your liking.
Note: Cornstarch is a great thickener. Dissolving the cornstarch in a little liquid helps to incorporate it into your broth or sauce. It’s easy to use and it eliminates adding extra fat to your dish or the time required to make a roux (equal parts of butter and flour). When making a roux, your dish may have a raw flour taste if you didn’t cook it long enough.
Taste and reseason. If you’re ready to serve it, turn off the heat, add the reserved chopped clams, give it a good stir and cover the soup.
Note: Clams are these beautiful and delicate little mollusks like oysters, mussels and scallops and if overcooked, they become rubbery. Overcooked mollusks would ruin any dish. Since they are so little, they cook up perfectly in the hot chowder.
Optional – A little red wine vinegar just before serving brightens the clam flavor. Not everyone in my family likes it this way so I don’t add it to the chowder, I simply place it on the table for those that do enjoy it. This soup looks beautiful when served in a bread bowl, but it’s delicious in any bowl or cup. Garnish with the reserved bacon crumbles, parsley or chives and oyster crackers or crispy fried shallots. Can’t forget the crackers!
It’s so delicious. Enjoy!
Clam Chowder Soup
A creamy, delicious classic soup with the right amount of clams and potatoes. A family favorite any season.
- 4-5 strips bacon will be used as a garnish at the end
- 3-4 6.5 oz. cans chopped clams in juice
- about 2 Tablespoons reserved bacon fat
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 carrots, minced
- 2 celery stalks, minced
- 4-5 medium potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes prefer Yukon Gold
- 1 bottle of clam juice
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup half and half cream
- 2 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
- Garnish options: crumbled bacon, chopped parsley, chopped chives or crispy shallots
In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until all the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crispy. Allow the bacon to drain on a paper towel, crumble and set aside. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and discard the rest.
Drain the cans of chopped clams. Reserve the liquid and refrigerate the clams until use.
In a dutch oven or stock pot, cook the onions, carrots and celery in the bacon fat over medium heat until the vegetables are tender and onions translucent.
Add the potatoes, reserved clam liquid and clam juice. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Add 2 cups of whole milk, salt and pepper. Make a slurry by whisking 1 cup of half and half with 2 ½ Tablespoons of cornstarch. Add to the soup and whisk everything together. Bring to a rolling simmer until soup thickens.
Turn the heat off. Taste and reseason. Add the chopped clams, stir and serve immediately.
Optional: a tablespoon of red wine vinegar just before serving. This will brighten and enhance the clam flavor.
Garnish with crumbled bacon, chopped parsley, chives or fried shallots. Served traditionally with oyster crackers.