Tuesday, March 24, 2009

40 Meatless Meals - Clam Chowder

1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 tsp. thyme
vegetable broth, enough to equal 2c. when combined with clam juice
1 c. milk
1 c. half-and-half
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
2 (6 1/2 oz.) cans chopped clams, juice reserved
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the celery and potato in a bit of olive oil until celery is translucent. Remove to stock pot, saute onion in skillet until caramelized. Add to pot, along with seasonings, milk, half-and-half, and broth mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Make a roux by melting 1/2 c. butter in skillet over medium low heat. Stir in flour. Cook, stirring continuously for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 to 2 cups hot liquid from stock pot to this roux mixture, stirring or whisking to incorporate and remove lumps. Add back into pot, stir to blend. Add clams. Makes 4 servings.

Notes: I like caramelizing the onions in meatless recipes in general, as it tends to up the flavor a bit. I also deglazed that skillet with the broth before adding it to the pot. Cook the onions just until soft if you prefer.
I've made a wheat-free version of this by whisking a couple tablespoons of cornstarch into 1/2c. or so of cold broth that I've saved out, then adding this into the soup and stirring well.
This recipe also works well in the crock pot.

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