Hot and hearty recipe that will warm you up on cold winter days.
4 slices of thick cut bacon, diced
2 medium Vidalia or yellow onions, finely diced
1 stalk celery, ribs removed, finely diced
1 bay leaf
4 cups of peeled white potatoes, uniformly diced in ½ inch cubes
3 cups half and half
1 ½ cup of water (enough to cover potatoes while they cook)
2 tbsps. of unsalted butter
Minced clams (found in the freezer section of specialty grocers like Whole Foods)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps. finely diced parsley
Hot sauce if desired
Dice bacon and sauté until just crisp in a 5 quart Dutch oven. Remove bacon to drain on plate with paper towel and drain excess fat from pan. Add diced onions and celery and sauté until they become translucent. You are really trying not to add color to the soup so don’t allow them to brown. Add potatoes. Saute them briefly to incorporate with onions. Add just enough water to cover. Add bay leaf. Bring to a low boil until the potatoes just become tender.
If you like your chowder a little thicker like I do remove about a cup of the potato onion mixture and puree in the blender. Return to the pot. Add half and half and butter. Then add bacon back in. Drain clams and add them to the soup. Add enough of the liquid to create the desired consistency for the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like to use white pepper so the soup looks prettier