Brenda Stanley: A smooth and creamy clam chowder could be true love
If opening a can is the only way you enjoy soup, then you’re missing out on a lot of flavor. The creamy, decadent taste of clam chowder is one of my favorites. Perfectly spiced and simmered, this thick and delicious soup is one that is meant for a meal.
My aunt dated the chef of a seafood restaurant decades ago, and while the relationship fizzled, she came away with the restaurant’s clam chowder recipe. And while I don’t suggest dating chefs just to improve your recipe file, that short-lived romance paid off.
I’ve tweaked this recipe slightly, but after several tries I know I have a keeper. My clam chowder recipe is one I can eat several days in a row and not tire of it.
It is a simple combination of potatoes, celery, onions and of course, clams swimming in a rich and creamy sauce, with just the hint of sweetness. I always make a large batch, because we simply can’t get enough of it. Once you discover how easy and delicious this chowder is, you’ll never settle for the canned variety again.
BELLE'S CLAM CHOWDER
2 cups potatoes, diced
1 cup of celery, diced
1 cup of onions, chopped
2 cans of minced clams, drained (reserve the juice)
¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
1 quart half and half (I use the fat-free)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon pepper
In a 3-quart sauce pan, place potatoes, celery and onion. Pour clam juice over top and then add enough water just to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
While this cooks, melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large sauce pan. Whisk in the flour until smooth and then slowly add the half and half, stirring with the whisk until thick and smooth. Add the vegetables, including all the juice and stir until mixed well.
Season the chowder with the sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.
Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.
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