Monday, November 2, 2009

Soup's on.

It's pretty typical for me to leave the office with absolutely NO idea about what I'm going to make for dinner, which leads to some pretty expensive grocery bills at Central Market (Cafe).

I love to cook, but at 6:30PM, the thought of buying all of the ingredients for dinner and then going home to make it is less than appealing. And let's also face this: I'm a complete and total grocery store snob.

But in an effort to channel my inner recessionista (can you hear Allen laughing?), I've decided to start meal planning and minimizing my trips to the grocery store.

I've also agreed to start shopping at Tom Thumb rather than Whole Foods, but I'm not really ready to talk about that yet.

So tonight I decided to start with an oldie but a mom's clam chowder recipe.

For those of you who only enjoy the thick New England style chowder, this is not the recipe for you. But for the rest of you, try this...I promise you'll love it.

Here's the ingredient list:
4-6 bacon slices
3 small red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion finely chopped
1 can chicken broth
2 cans minced clams, drained
1 bottle clam juice
3 tbsp Wondra flour
2 cups Half-and-Half (you can substitute milk; I use fat-free H&H)

Start by chopping the bacon and frying it over medium heat in a soup pan. When it's crisp, remove the bacon and drain on paper towel. Pour off all of the drippings, but don't scrape up the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the chopped onion to the pan, cooking and stirring until translucent. Then add the potatoes and the chicken broth, and scrape the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits from the pan.

Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often. At this point, it's not going to look like a traditional clam chowder base, but that's ok. This isn't traditional clam chowder.

After the soup has simmered, stir in the clams and the clam juice and then let that mixture gently simmer for 2 more minutes before you add the bacon.

In a separate container add the Wondra flour to the half and half, stirring well until mixed. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot soup into the half and half mixture and then pour that into the soup pan slowly, stirring the entire time. Stir until desired consistency is reached and the soup is piping hot, but don't let it boil.

Add beau monde seasoning to taste, and a little garlic salt if desired. I also add a few dashes of Tabasco just to add a little dimension.

Then serve it up!

And watch your might have a little unexpected help cleaning up the kitchen.

(BTW, friends who eat at my house: I do not let Tilly clean the counters by licking them or by any other means. I promise I cleaned the countertops w/Mrs. Meyer's as soon as we were finished with dinner. But when I turned around and she was doing this, it was just too funny NOT to take a picture.)

Best part of the night?

Allen on dish duty. Love him!

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