Light & Luscious New England Clam Chowder
A creamy, rich-tasting clam chowder … you wouldn’t even guess that it’s lightened up!
I’ve discovered something marvelous about making creamy soups. A little bit of Greek cream cheese in the soup adds a creamy texture and flavor and adds a nice bit of protein without adding a lot of fat. The other “trick” I used in this luscious seafood soup is some Thai fish sauce to give it a scrumptious authentic seafood taste. One of the recipes I looked at for clam chowder called for 8 cans of clams! I thought that was a little excessive and I couldn’t find any such thing as clam juice at the store that I saw in another recipe, so that’s why I turned to the fish sauce. The third “trick” I used is to puree some of the soup (before adding the clams) to let the potatoes help thicken the soup. I also used just a tish of Chipotle powder to give it just a tiny hint of heat. If you don’t have Chipotle powder on hand, try substituting white pepper.
If only I had some sourdough bread bowls to serve it in … this soup would be so perfectly at home in a sourdough bread bowl.
I didn’t peel my potatoes so as to take advantage of the nutritional benefits of the skins, but you can certainly peel the potatoes if you like.
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 of a large onion, peeled & chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups cubed red potatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 Tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon Chipotle powder
- 1 cup fat free half & half (or regular half & half)
- 2 oz. Greek cream cheese (or Neufchatel)
- 2 - 4 Tablespoons flour (or tapioca flour, for a gluten free soup)
- 2 - 6.5-oz. cans of minced clams (with juices)
- 2 slices lean bacon, fried, drained & chopped fine
- Heat the butter and olive oil in your soup pot and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the bay leaf, potatoes, fish sauce, wine and water. Cover and cook for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are nice and tender when poked with a fork.
- Scoop up about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of the potato mixture into a blender. Add the Old Bay seasoning, Chipotle powder, half & half, cream cheese and flour to the blender and blend until smooth. (Adjust the amount of flour depending on how thick you want the soup. For a thicker soup, use more flour. I used 2 Tablespoons.) Stir this white mixture back into the soup pot. Add the clams, juice and all, and the bacon. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 10 - 15 minutes until thickened and hot.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve garnished with fresh parsley, tarragon and/or bacon.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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