Recipe 45: New England Clam Chowder w/ Homemade Garlic Croutons


This recipe was entirely fueled by how cold it is here in the bay. As a San Diego girl, I’m still getting used to this chill. I love clam chowder, especially the New England version, but I have a hard time finding a good one that doesn’t come served in a bread bowl, that is, until now.

This chowder starts with a couple pieces of roughly chopped bacon as the fat base, and a bit of a kick thanks to a small poblano pepper that I needed to use up from my mom’s garden.

The croutons came from a baguette that had been sitting patiently for a week, so it was nice and dry and took to the butter and garlic nicely. Though fresh bread works just fine, I find it especially satisfying using something that would otherwise go in the trash.

Now, for the goods.

Recipe 45: New England Clam Chowder w/ Homemade Garlic Croutons

Total time: 1 hr

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

Chowder

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small poblano chili pepper, minced
  • 2 strips of bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 large (tennis ball-sized) red skinned potatoes (or equivalent), 1/2″ cubed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3- 6.5oz cans of chopped clams in juice (reserve juice)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Croutons

  • 1/2 baguette, cut into cubes
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp (about 2 cloves) garlic, minced
  • Garlic salt & pepper to taste

Process:

In a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid (I used a dutch oven), cook your bacon until mostly done. Add your minced chili pepper and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the onion and celery and saute until the onions start to look translucent. At this point, add your oyster juice, cream, and chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat with your salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Once boiling, add your potatoes and stir to combine. Put a lid on it and let it cook for at least 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Remove your bay leaf. You’ll add the clams once the potatoes are soft and then cook another 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350F.

While the chowder is cooking, cube your baguette into croutons. Add the butter to a large skillet and then your garlic. Saute the cubes of bread until all of the butter is soaked up, spread out onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt and pepper. Cook at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until the croutons are dry and crispy!

Serve your chowder with a nice salad and toss in a few croutons to soak up the soup. Enjoy!

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