Clam Chowder. Definitely a favorite in my household. Of two people. Though it hasn’t always been a favorite of mine. In fact, I believe the first time I ever had clam chowder was in Seattle in 2007. I remember my first bowl being thick, rich, and lush, and it was love at first slurp. While I wasn’t a food blogger back then, I did capture a (very amateur) picture of the restaurant in which we ate, which overlooked the water (Puget Sound?). Also, the Space Needle, just for kicks:
While we’re on the topic, and while I’m digging through old folders of Seattle pictures, here’s a nice shot of Seattle, taken from the top of the Space Needle. We also ate in the rotating restaurant atop the Space Needle (and the food and service were lackluster – no MGNN Seal of Approval, for sure – I remember, but it was a very cool experience).
Who is this? Me – but I am not going NomNom here. This was taken at Snoqualmie Falls, north of Seattle. The falls were awesome.
Okay, we’re veering off-topic a bit, so back to the chowder. Tonight I made my own chowder, which was no doubt a “lighter” version of the one I enjoyed in Seattle. Rather than dousing my chowder with heavy cream, I consulted Cooking Light for a more sensible recipe, Simple Clam Chowder (I halved the recipe). Here are most of the ingredients, including: chopped onion and celery, clam juice, canned clams, milk, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and garlic:
The dish also included a couple pieces of diced bacon, the fat of which was used to saute the veggies, and the… uh.. bacon of which was used to sprinkle atop the chowder.
After sauteing onion, celery, garlic, and dried thyme in the bacon drippings, it was time to introduce some liquid to the party. I added in two 8-oz. bottles of clam juice (which sounds gross, right – it actually smelled good to me though!), and the juice that I drained off of three 6.5-oz. cans of clams (add the juice only at this point). Two potatoes were peeled, diced, and thrown in, and the soup was allowed to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, I wisked 1/4 cup flour into 1.5 cups of milk.. Frothy!
Add the milk/flour mixture to the soup:
..And stir. And stir. And stir. You must stir constantly for the next twelve minutes, or else your milk might burn! So get comfy, kids.
After twelve minutes of constant stirring, finally it was time for the star of the show to make his appearance – Mr. Clam! Add in your clams, heat for two minutes, and then your soup is done!
Your soup should be nice and thick and rich, due to the thickening power of the flour in the milk, no heavy cream necessary. (Which is a very good thing for those watching their fat/calorie intake.) Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and devour!
This soup was seriously amazing. It totally did not taste like a “lighter” version. I was a tad nervous about the soup, and more so about the canned clams and bottle clam juice. I was worried those two ingredients might be fishy and gross, but they were not at all! Simply delicious, this recipe is absolutely a keeper. The husband rated the dish 9.5/10, and I would agree. I love C00king Light – I am rarely let down by their recipes; I can almost always count on their recipes to be tasty (and lower-calorie, to boot!).
I made six cornbread muffins last week, and placed them in batches of two in the freezer, for easy future side dishes. Warmed, lightly buttered, and drizzled with honey. 🙂
♪♫ Currently listening to: Nothing In My Way – Keane.