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New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:

3 8-ounce bottles clam juice
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (used red potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
3 slices bacon, finely chopped (used more bacon)
2 cups chopped onions (used half onion and leeks)
1 1/4 cups chopped celery with leaves (about 2 large stalks)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved (used half fresh Maine clams and canned clams)
1 1/4 cups half and half (used heavy cream)
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Bring bottled clam juice and potatoes to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown). Gradually whisk in reserved juices from clams. Add potato mixture, clams, half and half and hot pepper sauce. Simmer chowder 5 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving.

*It was a perfect soup  for a rainy day and it was raining…perfect! I made a whole batch thinking I would have some leftovers, I did just a bowl just enough for my lunch to work. This is my second recipe for clam chowder, but this New England Chowder is a keeper and I see this dish many, many rainy days in our home. enJOY!!!

Source: Epicurious

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