It’s been freezing lately! I can’t remember the last time it was this cold during the Winter season in SF. Regardless of how cold it gets, I think Winter is the time for major soup consumption.. San Francisco is known for their Sourdough and clam chowder so why not make a large amount of clam chowder to share at the table while bundled up in your warmest blanket?
2 lb. manila clams, scrubbed and cleaned
5 C. water
5 slices thick bacon, sliced into small chunks
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large russet potatoes, skins removed and diced
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. dry thyme
1 bay leaf
1 C milk (I used 2%)
1 C nonfat half n half
salt & pepper to taste
1 small bunch parsley
Clean your clams by rubbing 2 clams together to get rid of the grit from the outer part of the shells then placing the scrubbed clams in a bowl of cold water. When you’re done cleaning the clams, place them in a large pot with 5 cups of water. Let the water come to a boil then bring it down to a simmer for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the clams should all be open. Remove the clams and set aside. Continue to simmer the water for another 10-15 minutes. Taste the water as it reduces. It should taste “clammy.” You will need about 2 and a half cups of this clam water.
In another large pot, fry the bacon until it has reached your preferred consistency. Take the bacon pieces out leaving the bacon fat in the pot. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and potatoes. Add some salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and stir so that the butter and flour become paste-like. Throw in the thyme and bay leaf then add about half a cup of the clam water and stir to loosen the paste. Add the remaining 2 cups of clam water and milk. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the soup thickens.
While you’re waiting for the soup to thicken, remove the clams from their shells. Add the clams and half n half to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Top with bacon and parsley and serve immediately.