Enjoy a bowlful of briny clam flavor balanced with a little light cream, aromatics, and a hint of bacon paired with a winter full bodied Sauvignon Blanc from Bagueri winery!
2 - 3 cups diced potatoes
1 can Baby Clams - you can use chopped clams also
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms - Optional
1 bay leaf
finely chopped 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (8-oz.) bottle clam juice
1 cup vegetable broth - you may need more if the soup is too thick, I used 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices applewood-smoked bacon - Optional this is just a garnish
1/2 cup oyster crackers or saltines for serving with soup
1. Combine potatoes and 1 1/4 cups water in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave at high 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Set aside.
2 - 1. If using Bacon for garnish - Heat a medium saucepan over medium. Add bacon to pan, and cook for 4 minutes or until browned and crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add celery and onion and mushrooms if you are using, to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
2 - 2. If NOT using Bacon, add oil to pan - heat to medium-high. Add celery, onion and mushrooms if you are using, to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Combine flour and bottled clam juice in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add clam juice mixture and vegetable broth to pan. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add potatoes, thyme, pepper and bay leaf to pan; reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped clams and half-and-half. Simmer. Ladle chowder into bowls; sprinkle evenly with bacon and serve chowder with oyster crackers. NOTE: take Bay Leaf out of pan before serving.
Paired with Bagueri Sauv Blanc
Adapted from Cooking Light Soups and Stews Fall 2021