Who doesn't love clam chowder? It's warm, comforting, delicious - the perfect recipe for a cold Saturday night. This recipe takes less than an hour to make. When the cook time is over, you've got the perfect meal for your family - and hopefully enough for leftovers too!
Step 1: In a large Dutch oven, electric kettle or a large pot on the stove, sauté bacon bits in olive oil and cook until brown, with crispy edges. This takes approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel on a plate, to drain the fat. Leave the oil in the bottom of the kettle, pot or pan.
Step 2: Melt the butter in the pot. Add onion and garlic. Stir frequently as the onion and garlic cooks, about 2 to 3 minutes. When the onion has become soft and translucent, add the thyme and allow it to cook for one more minute. The thyme will become fragrant – this is when it’s done cooking.
Step 3: Whisk flour into the onions, garlic, butter and oil. Stir until the flour is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Start adding the milk and vegetable stock, stirring continuously.
Step 4: Add the bay leaf and potatoes to the thickened broth. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer until the potatoes are tender. This should take about ten minutes, depending on how small the pieces of potato are.
Step 5: Stir in half-and-half and the clams. Keep stirring until the clams are heated all the way through. If the chowder is too thick, add vegetable stock, milk or half-and-half to reduce the thickness and add to the soup.
Step 6: Season with salt and pepper to taste.