A couple of us in this family love clam chowder, but I'm always annoyed when there are more potatoes than clams. This soup will not disappoint if you feel the same.
The first thing my Mom asked is "why is it brown?" She has a way with words, but let me just say that this woman knows how to make clam chowder and has made it my whole life. However, I had most of the ingredients and didn't want to go to the store for the rest, so I improvised and am glad I did. For the record, so is she.
- 1 heaping cup bacon, cubed (4 thick slices)
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 4 cups red potato, cubed
- 2 cups clams
- 3 cups clam juice
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups cream
- 4 tablespoons pickapeppa sauce (or 3 tablespoons Worcestershire)...this is what gave it a brownish hue
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup cream
Heat your pot (I used my enamel coated cast iron 8 qt pot) on medium heat and toss in bacon. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking until most of the fat is rendered off, but not super crispy. Remove bacon and set aside keeping fat in the pot. Add the onion to the bacon fat and cook till soft.
Next you want to make a roux that will help thicken your soup. Personally, I don't care for overly thick chowders that taste more like flour than clam, so I didn't make as much roux, but you can increase it if you like. (I also used red potatoes which don't break down. If you use russet, they are more starchy breaking down and acting as a thickening agent.) Anyhow, add the butter to the onions and melt. Sprinkle the flour over this mixture and start adding your 1/2 cup cream a couple tablespoons at a time until used up. (Stir and make sure all liquid is gone between additions.)
Start adding your clam juice slowly incorporating the roux. Then add your potatoes, garlic powder, salt, and bay leaf. Simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Once the potatoes are done, add your milk, cream, and pickapeppa sauce. Stir to incorporate and heat through. Ready to serve as soon as it is heated through, but it got tastier even 30-45 minutes later as I let it sit and simmer and thicken a bit more. Top with a little fresh chopped parsley and cracked black pepper.
*As you can see, I really am barefoot in my kitchen.