There is a chill in the air that wasn't there before, we have seen our first flakes of snow mixed in with a cold rain and they came with a mighty wind. Night comes early and the warm house feels right with a pot of soup bubbling on the stove.
This is a hearty, stick to your ribs soup. A half bowl fills me up. I believe this soup would also be good without the clams, just call it potato soup. We don't have fresh clams, we are way to far from the ocean for that. The canned clams are ok, but certainly fresh would make this clam chowder taste even better. You could use skim milk to lighten the soup up, but why would you want to ruin that rich flavor. Really, keep the full flavor and eat half a bowl.
I first made this soup about 26 years ago after a trip to San Francisco. We drove down to Monterey and ate at a restaurant in an old warehouse along Cannery Row. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but I will never forget that chowder, it was the best clam chowder I have ever eaten. Yes, I have eaten clam chowder in Boston, it was very good, but for whatever reason this cannery row chowder has held steady as the best I've eaten. The broth was creamy, the soup full of potatoes and bacon and, no doubt, fresh clams, and there was a generous amount of fresh black pepper on top. When I got home I did my best to duplicate the soup and I felt that I came quite close, though I did not have fresh clams available.
1/4 pound bacon, chopped
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 cups raw potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2 carrots, shredded
2 cups water
5 6-ounce cans minced clams
4 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
freshly ground pepper to taste
Saute bacon and onion. Add potatoes, thyme and water. Cook about 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Add flour, remaining ingredients and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes.
Kahakai kitchen hosts "Souper Sundays". I have linked this post to round up of recipes, there are several other great recipes listed, check them out.