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Clam Chowder with Sweet Potato Fries

Courtesy of Deirdre Reid and her blog “Grabbing the Gusto”

The cold weather this weekend put me in the mood for clam chowder. Somewhere I have a tried and true recipe. Somewhere. I found a recipe I liked the looks of on the Eating Well magazine site so I gave it a try. It’s a winner and probably has a lower fat content than my old recipe.

Eating Well is my favorite healthy eating magazine. I used to subscribe to Cooking Light too but their recipes used too much processed food and that’s not the way I usually cook. Eating Well has articles about nutrition and ingredients with a slant toward local, seasonal and sustainable food. I made a few changes to this recipe that I put in parentheses.

New England Clam Chowder

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
  • (Optional – 2 cloves garlic, diced)
  • 1 medium red potato (or more – I used 3 red potatoes)
  • 1 8-oz bottle clam juice (my store didn’t have any so I used 1-1/2 cups of boxed seafood stock, increased amount due to extra potatoes and really large onion)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups low-fat milk (I used 1%)
  • ½ cup heavy cream (I used half & half because we had it)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3 6-oz cans chopped clams, rinsed (I didn’t rinse and I used all the can juice)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy. Add onion, celery and thyme to the pan, stirring, until beginning to soften. Add garlic, sauté a minute. Add potato, clam juice (seafood stock) and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender.

Whisk milk, cream, flour and salt in a medium bowl. I add the flour little by little so I don’t get any lumps. Or you could add a some milk to the flour to make a slurry and then add the rest. Add to the pan and return to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add clams (and juice) and cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes more (or longer).

Discard the bay leaf before serving. Top each bowl with some sliced scallions.

Original Recipe: New England Clam Chowder

I served the chowder with sweet potato fries. I love roasting sweet potatoes but they always end up softer than I’d like, even at high heat. I found a recipe on Annie’s Eatsthat called for soaking the cut potatoes in cold water before roasting to increase their crispiness, and by god, it works. They’re still not as crispy as fried sweet potatoes, but I’m trying to be a bit healthy here. I added cayenne to the recipe for some heat. Experiment with herbs or spices here.

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (I would use less next time)
  • Optional – 2-3 crushed garlic cloves (crush them on sheet pan)
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne (or smoked paprika would be great too)
  • ½ tsp salt (kosher if you have it)
  • ½ tsp black pepper (freshly ground if you have it)

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil greased lightly with cooking spray.

Halve potatoes lengthwise and cut into long fry shapes, not too thin. Soak fries in cold water for 20-30 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Toss fries on sheet pan with the oil. Spread them out in a single layer. Combine brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper, and sprinkle on the fries.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn with spatula or tongs. Bake another 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt if desired and serve.

I’ve found a lot of great recipes on Annie’s Eats. It’s definitely RSS subscription worthy – it’s in my Primo Food folder. She just published a recipe that looks absolutely crazy good, Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites.

For more foodie insight and delicious recipes, visit Deirdre’s site at Grabbing the Gusto.

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