Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breezie's Legendary Clam Chowder

This is some good soup! Great meatless meal, if you leave out the bacon, but it might just be too indulgent for Lent. The original recipe is from a church cookbook from the St. Francis Chapel & City Ministry in Providence, RI. My brother (Breezie) gave me a few hints on tweaking the recipe and I added a touch of my own as well. So this is how I made it. Next time, I'll probably leave out the bacon.

1/4 lb. bacon (4 or 5 slices), diced
6 ribs celery, cut thin
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 TBL butter
1 qt chicken stock
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp thyme
5 or 6 potatoes, diced (I didn't peel them before dicing, just washed them well)
3 cans (6.5 oz each) minced clams, drained, juice reserved
1 package Louis Kemp "crab," sliced
1 stick butter
6 TBL flour
1 qt milk
3 TBL cornstarch
1/4 cup ice water

Dice and blanch bacon in 2 cups boiling water for about 2 minutes.

Saute celery & onions in 2 TBL butter for 10 minutes over medium heat. Don't allow to brown.

In large soup pot, add bacon, celery & onions to chicken stock. Add clam juice, pepper and thyme. Bring to a heavy simmer. Add potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are cooked but still firm.

Melt the stick of butter and blend with flour. Add this roux to 1 qt. hot milk, off the heat. Stir and return to the burner, stirring until thickened to make a bechamel sauce. Add drained clams and the bechamel to the soup. Stir and simmer 10 minutes.

Make a slurry with the cornstarch and ice water and add to the soup. Bring to a boil and stir until soup thickens. Lower the heat and simmer until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 1/2 quarts of soup.

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