Clam chowder is one of those dishes that people reserve for when they are dining out because it seems to daunting to make at home. Luckily, it really isn’t that hard to make or time consuming. Plus, once you make it, you’ll never want to go back to ordering it again because it will never taste as good as what you make at home. This clam chowder recipe has a delightfully creamy texture, full of potatoes, clams, and bacon and uses fat free half and half instead of heavy cream to help cut down on fat and calories without sacrificing taste. My favorite part is the Tabasco that gives it a nice hint of heat without overpowering the clams. This recipe is easy to scale up or down depending on the occasion, so make dinner easy tonight and try a batch (plus it reheats well for easy leftovers). Just don’t forget the oyster crackers!
- 4 oz bacon thinly sliced
- 7 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz onion finely diced
- 2 oz shallots minced
- 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme about 4 sprigs
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 can chopped clams 6.5 oz
- 2 cans minced clams 6.5 oz
- 2 cups fat free half and half
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 lb potatoes peeled and washed (about 2 medium potatoes)
- 8 dashes Tabasco
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Dice potatoes in 1/2 inch cubes. It's ok that the curved parts of the potato will be slightly smaller in size, those will break down faster when the chowder is cooking which will help it thicken.
- On medium high heat, add bacon to large pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the bacon fat just starts to render. Add garlic, onions, shallots, crushed red pepper, thyme sprigs and stir for 4-5 minutes.
- Add butter to pot and let melt. Once melted add flour and stir well, until all the butter and flour is incorporated. Let cook for 3-4 minutes. This step is important to reduce any flour flavor in the chowder.
- Add clams, liquid and all and mix well. Once flour mixture is fully mixed with clam liquid, slowly add cream and milk, stirring constantly to avoid any flour from clumping up, creating lumps in your chowder. Once all cream and milk is fully mixed, add potatoes and stir. Add salt and pepper.
- Bring chowder to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Stir frequently to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. You will know it's done when the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove thyme sprigs and add Tabasco. Stir well and enjoy! Serve with fresh crusty bread or oyster crackers!