Clam chowder is easier to make than you think – and the homemade version is unbelievably creamy, flavorful and chockfull of clams!
Soup season has come and gone, but a bowl of clam chowder can really be eaten in any kind of weather, especially when it comes to the homemade version. If you didn’t know, clam chowder is actually a very simple soup to prepare with a few pantry ingredients. Now some recipes call for fresh clams but I actually prefer to use canned clams for several different reasons.
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, juices reserved
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cup half and half
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 tablespoon excess fat; set aside.
- Melt butter in the stockpot. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, vegetable stock, clam juice and bay leaf, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in potatoes.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes.*
- Stir in half and half and clams until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley, if desired.
*Half and half is equal parts of whole milk and cream. For 1 cup half and half, you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream.
*Cooking time may need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the potatoes.