Surrounded by sounds far from homey yet just as comforting, I watch the cold rain drizzling outside. My table at the local coffee shop is not exactly the most comfortable spot to spend the last hour or so, but it's enough to keep me from taking a nap. Interesting how much easier it is to focus on the task at hand when you get away from the comforts of home. I don't think I would get very much done if I worked from home as a full time job, I find it too easy to find an excuse to do everything but that which I am supposed to do.
Such days call for tucking yourself deep into a blanket and napping all day long anyway. I did that for about an hour or two after dinner and then the thought of working on this post and catching up on some reading drove me right out of bed. At least no one can blame me for spending the evening in such a manner after all there is no sunshine to be able to enjoy the outdoors.
Growing up I absolutely loved to read and I think my huge imagination is the biggest contributing factor to that love. My first introduction to chowder was through the story of four siblings who spent one summer vacationing on an island. They cooked a clam chowder that had me dreaming of eating it along side them every time. In my mind cream, potatoes and clams sounded absolutely delicious even though at the time I had never even eaten anything like it. When I finally had the opportunity to eat it for myself, I was not disappointed.
It felt like a seafood kind of weekend and I wanted something with a hearty flavor, rich and filling. And that is exactly what I got. Rich with cream, thick with potatoes and laced with a soft briny taste of clams, the smoky bacon gives enough depth that you don't need a whole lot else with this meal.
Chunky Clam & Bacon Chowder
- 3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped fine
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1.5 Tbsp flour
- 2 (6.5 oz) cans chopped clams
- 1 (8 oz) bottled clam juice
- 2 large red potatoes (about 1 lb), chopped
- 1 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnishing
- In a medium saucepan cook chopped bacon until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in onion and continue cooking until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds before adding the flour. Stir until the flour coats all the vegetables.
- Drain canned clams, setting the calms aside, add juice to the pot along with the bottled juice. Add the potatoes, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves, stir in cream, chopped clams and bring to a simmer again. You can also add a bit of water if the chowder is too rich for your liking. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
*recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated.