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Betsy’s Christmas Clam Chowder
What are some of your favorite Christmas memories? Beautiful trees? Family and friends?? How about food?
- 6 small Sour Dough Bread bowls
- 6 strips bacon or meaty salt pork chopped
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 (6.5 ounce cans) chopped or minced clams - Reserve the liquid
- 2 (10 ounce cans) Chicken of the Sea Whole Baby Clams - Reserve the liquid
- 2 (8 ounce bottles) clam juice
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 inch large russet potatoes peeled and cut into ~½ cubes
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cup water
- 3 ¼ cup Half and Half
- 2 tablespoon butter or margarine
- Oyster Crackers for serving
In a Dutch oven (or large heavy bottom poover medium heat, cook bacon strips until medium browned. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon bacon grease. The bacon can stay in the pot.
Add a little water and scape bottom of pot to deglaze the bacon brownings on the bottom of the pot so they do not burn. Add onions and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
In a cup, whisk ½ cup of the bottled clam juice with 12 T flour to dissolve the flour.
Pour the clam juice mixture into pot through a strainer (to strain out any remaining lumps of the flour).
To the pot add 2 cups water, potatoes, and the remaining juice from the 2 bottles of clam juice plus the juice from the 2 small cans of minced clams. (reserve the juice from the 2 larger cans of whole clams to thin the soup later should you desire.)
Add salt, pepper, and celery salt.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently (making sure it does not burn on the bottofor 10 – 15 minutes or until potatoes are done.
When potatoes are tender, add Half and Half, and butter. Cook on medium low about 5 minutes, stirring until heated through out.
One potatoes are tender, pour the entire mixture through a fine mesh strainer into ta large bowl, gently shaking the strainer if necessary to get the liquids to pass through. Transfer strained solids back to the pot. Make sure there is no heat on under pot. You should end up with a white, semi-broken broth in the bowl underneath, and the potatoes, salt pork, and aromatics back in the pot off heat.
Transfer liquid to a blender and blend on high speed until smooth and emulsified, about 2 minutes. Return liquid back to the pot. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Reheat until simmering. Season well with salt and pepper.
Check consistency of soup. It should be fine, but if you desire it thicker, mix 2 - 3 Tablespoons additional flour in a cup with some of the Half and Half, strain into the soup and let cook for another 5 minutes to remove the raw taste of the flour. Or you can add some of the reserved clam juice to thin it out if you wish.
Just before serving add clams and serve. (If the clams cook for any length of time they will turn rubbery. All you’re wanting to do here is get them warm.)
Serve with French Bread, Saltine Crackers and Apple Cider
Mom used to tell stories of her relatives from Maine having Oyster Stew for Christmas Eve. I like the idea of annual traditions, it helps tie generations together. I do not like the idea of oyster stew. This offers a nice compromise.
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