This delicious, creamy Best Clam Chowder is the perfect soup to serve for a lighter holiday meal.
- 8-10 bacon strips, divided
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half-and-half, divided
- 3 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) of whole clams, chopped into chunky pieces, drained
- Bay leaf
- Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish
- In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Add butter to the drippings (you can spoon out some of the drippings if you don’t want to ues that much); saute celery, leek, and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, broth, clam juice, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into the soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in (drained) clams and remaining half-and-half; heat through (do not boil); turn down to low heat; add the bay leaf. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes on low heat. Add in 4 strips of crumbled bacon.
- Crumble the reserved 2 strips of bacon. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives.