How to make New England Clam Chowder with Bacon from scratch
I consider New England Clam Chowder a comfort food. It at least is one of the staple soups that everyone should know how to make from scratch, (it tastes much better when prepared at home and not from a can).
New England Clam Chowder is very similar to potato soup except that I generally will cut my miripoix (celery, carrots, and onions) into rather large pieces. A chowder is supposed to be a very hearty soup.
To make New England Clam Chowder for four you will need about three slices of bacon cut in pieces, one large onion diced, two stalks of celery chopped, two carrots chopped, two or three cloves of garlic minced, a fine diced jalapeno (optional) a cup of mashed potatoes (or about a quarter cup of flour) to thicken, two or three red potatoes cut into quarter moons, one eight ounce can of clams, a cup of heavy cream (or evaporated milk) and salt and pepper to taste.
Start to render your bacon over medium low heat and add your onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and the jalapeno (if desired). Cook until the onions are transluscent. If you are using flour as your thickening agent add the flour to the rendered bacon and veggies and stir until it loosens. Add your clams with the juice and potatoes. Bring to a boil and add water as necessary. Cook until the potatoes are tender then add the heavy cream or evaporated milk (and the mashed potatoes if they are your thickening agent). Add salt and pepper as necessary.
Note: Sut the potatoes in half lengthwise, and then each half in half lengthwise. Chop each potato wedge into quarter inch thick quarter moons. Use the celery leaves as well for more flavor.
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