This recipe originated from one of my very favorite cookbooks “Portland’s Palate” as “River City Clam Chowder.” I am madly in love with this recipe but my family put the kibosh on the clams, so I made a few alterations and now have a really yummy creamy potato soup topped with melted cheddar cheese. This recipe competes with some of the best clam chowder and potato soups I have ever eaten. If you really want to knock your family’s socks off, serve it in a bread bowl.
8 slices peppered bacon, diced
1/2 cup butter (1 cube) – I actually only use 6 Tbsp because the bacon still holds on to some of its fat. As long as your flour mixes in and makes a nice roux, it isn’t necessary to have the full cube.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 large onion, chopped – Remember to chop the whole thing and freeze the other half in a freezer Ziploc.
1 cup celery (2 large stalks), diced
4 (6 oz) cans chopped clams or 2 cups fresh clams, shucked (remember this is omitted if you are making the potato soup)
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed – I cube mine up in 1/2 inch cubes
3 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
salt and white pepper to taste
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until browned. Drain grease (I push bacon to one side and tip the pan then put 2 paper towels on the side that the grease is draining to. Then you can just plop the paper towels in the garbage and don’t have to worry about the grease.)
Add butter, onions, and celery to stockpot and cook over medium heat until softened and onions are translucent. Add flour and cook three minutes, stirring constantly.
Place potatoes in a microwave save dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes, stopping every 2 minutes to stir.
Drain clams and reserve liquid in a 1-pint measuring cup. Add enough water to clam liquid to equal 2 cups. If you are making the potato soup, just substitute 2 cups of chicken broth, (or 2 tsp chicken base and 2 cups water) for the clam liquid.
Add this liquid slowly to mixture in stockpot, stirring constantly.
Add potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Add clams (optional), milk and half and half. Heat until thickened, being careful not to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
If you are making the potato soup, top with shredded cheddar cheese.