Sometimes I’m still in shock that I now live in a coastal state. I grew up in a landlocked state, and visited the ocean only a handful of times growing up. Since we moved to Oregon over the summer, it has been a pretty amazing change to be only a little over an hour away from the ocean. We drive to the beach at least once a month, and even though it’s generally too cold to swim, it does my heart good to walk on the beach, breath in the fresh air, and stare out at the waves. Whenever I’m having a bad day, driving out to the beach totally turns things around for me. With our many trips to the beach, we’ve had fun trying out all the little beachside restaurants near us. I always order a cup of clam chowder with my meal, and it has been fun trying out a bunch of different varieties. For me, the perfect clam chowder is smooth and creamy, has a nice peppery bite, and is loaded with chunks of potatoes and clams. Throw in a little bacon, and it’s perfect!
Since I can’t get enough chowder, I’ve been experimenting with making it at home, and this recipe is pretty much just clam chowder perfection. It’s incredibly flavorful and savory, has the perfect balance of spices, and is creamy and delicious. I love the chunks of clam, bacon, potato, and celery, and all the flavors in the soup blend together harmoniously.
Bacon Clam Chowder
5 slices center cut bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic
4-5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 (6.5 ounce) cans clams, drained, juice reserved (juice should be 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/3 cup flour
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
Add the bacon to a large pot over medium heat, and cook until crisp and browned. Remove the bacon from the pot and place on paper towels to drain. Add the butter, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot, and cook 3-4 minutes, until the onions and celery are softened. Add the potatoes, chicken broth, clam juice, pepper, salt, and Old Bay seasoning to the pot. Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and easily pierced with a fork. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, half and half, and milk. Pour the flour mixture into the pot and cook 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in the reserved clams and the bacon pieces. Serve hot, topped with oyster crackers.
For more delicious soup recipes, check out these favorites from my food blogging friends below!
Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup from Life in the Lofthouse
Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Soup from Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Bacon Potato Corn Chowder from Lil’ Luna
Chicken, Wild Rice, and Mushroom Soup from Simply Stacie
Cauliflower Chowder from Damn Delicious
And don’t forget to check out these delicious soup recipes from The Baker Upstairs!