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.
1. It’s certainly easier – all you have to do is open up the can. Done.
2. It’s budget-friendly at $2.99 per can versus $9.99 per pound.
3. Last but not least, it brings in a lot more flavor when you use both the canned clams and juices, not to mention the abundance of clams as well, something you don’t really get when you order out.
Now what I love about this recipe is that you have absolute complete control over the creaminess of the soup. You can make it as thick as you’d like, or a little bit runny if that’s how you prefer your soup. Just be sure to have those oyster crackers ready to go because this soup is guaranteed to disappear from your dinner table!
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ 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 in the stockpot.
- 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.
*Cooking time may need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the potatoes.