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Quick and Easy Dinner: Clam Chowder Bread Bowls

Friday, February 17, 2012

When I first started cooking, I used to be scared off from recipes that had more than 5 ingredients and 5 steps.  I just felt like I couldn't handle all of that and the few times that I tried, I was disappointed with the results so was discouraged from cooking at all.  I don't know when it kicked in but when I finally learned to adapt recipes to my and my husbands tastes and make them easier for me to prep and cook, was when I started to enjoy cooking.  Nowadays, I not only need "easy recipes", I need recipes that can be put together and be on the table pretty quickly since I work almost all day and night (owning your own business does that to you) so I don't have a lot of time to devote to the kitchen daily. 
I love soup for dinner and clam chowder is an indulgence that I like to get at restaurants (Seattle has some great clam chowder!) but I've never made it myself.  I suddenly had a craving for it and decided, why not?  I looked at a few recipes and then made this one using the general ingredients but keeping it to my taste and using canned clams to make my life easier.  This recipe only took me about 30 minutes to make so is perfect for those of you like me that want delicious meals in a short amount of time!

Makes about 4 servings

  • 2-3 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1-2 cans of canned clams
  • Reserve liquid from the canned clams + water up to 2 cups
  • 6-8 small golden potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp of fresh thyme if you have it
  • 1 cup milk (I used non fat - use whatever you have)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Sourdough bread bowls (not necessary but so yummy!)
Note: most recipes call for bay leaf but I didn't feel like paying $3 for a whole thing of leaves when I would only use a few so I left it out and it still tasted fine

My first thing is to prep all your ingredients.  This means dicing the clams (if you bought them whole), bacon, onion and potatoes before putting anything on the stove and pulling out all the other ingredients on your kitchen counter.  As I've learned through tons of cooking mishaps, when you aren't prepared is when you get in trouble with cooking and burning things.  

In your large pot cook your bacon until almost crisp.  Add the diced onion and butter.  After the butter is melted, add the flour slowly to the mixture and stir to blend.  This will help thicken the chowder.  While this mixture is cooking (you want the onions to be softened) pour the liquid from the canned clams into a large measuring cup and then fill with water until you get about 2 cups of water/clam liquid mixture.  (I used 2 cans of clams so I had about 1 cup of clam liquid and 1 cup of water).

Add the clam liquid/water mixture, diced potatoes, thyme and milk to the mixture.  Bring to a boil, continue to stir it as it boils.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add clams and heavy cream and bring to a simmer.  Cook for only a few minutes more (you just want to heat up the clams since they are already good to go) but don't cook too long as you don't want your clams to get tough.

Add salt and pepper to taste and you are done!

Scoop into your bread bowls and enjoy your yummy meal.

One note on the recipe: I used two cans of clams which turned out to be a tad bit clammy for us so next time I will only be using one can.  Just to let you know in case you don't want yours to be too clammy either.  Everything else was perfect!  

I got all of my ingredients from Trader Joe's including the bread bowls and I will say that the bread bowls were just as good as any restaurant ones that I've tried.


Have a good weekend!  I've got a busy one ahead but am glad it's a 3 day weekend! If you are in the mood for some new jewelry come check out my jewelry line and save up to $25 off your order!

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