We love a good clam chowder. As you can imagine, not many restaurants in southern Kentucky serve the real deal. Red Lobster is about it and it's usually pretty good there, but if you like the clam chowder at Red Lobster, you will love this recipe for clam chowder. I started making this at home, because my guys all love clam chowder so much. I experimented with several things a couple of times and this is the recipe I came up with. It turns out great every time. Here is what you will need:
4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup finely minced sweet onion
3 stalks celery, finely minced
1/4 cup flour
1 (8 oz.) bottle of clam juice
2 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 (6.5 oz.) cans of minced or chopped clams, drained
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped for garnish
Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a pan, covered with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and then just simmer until they are starting to get tender. Do not over cook them. You want them to maintain their shape and not mush up. Once you put them in the chowder, they will cook and break down a little more.
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until it's translucent. The onion and celery should be very fine and cooked enough that you really don't notice it in the finished product. Add the 1/4 cup flour and cook for about 1 minute. It will make a smooth paste.
Whisk in the clam juice, whole milk, half and half and seasonings and bring this up to a boil. Stir this constantly and from the bottom, because it might stick. You see that it starts to thicken immediately. When it boils, turn the heat down to simmer. Add the drained potatoes.
This is clam juice, in case you are not familiar with it. It's on the aisle with canned tuna, salmon, clams and such. Drain the clams in a colander and rinse them. You can skip the rinse step if you wish, but I do this because I absolutely hate to get bite of gritty clam chowder. It ruins the whole experience for me. This is why I add the bottle of clam juice back in and don't use the juice the clams are packed in. This assures a smooth bowl of chowder.
Add the drained clams to the pot. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir this frequently.
Right before serving add the heavy cream to the soup. Just stir it in to warm it, don't let it boil after adding the cream. When cream is incorporated, it's ready to serve. Taste for seasoning and add any salt and pepper accordingly. You might not need anything added, but I usually just add an additional sprinkle of black pepper.
Sprinkle each bowl with the chopped fresh parsley!
This is so good served with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits!