|Lightened clam chowder|
Clam chowder: practically synonymous with creamy, buttery, this-can't-be-good-for-me-so-I-only-eat-it-on-vacation decadence.
But this is a lighter version of clam chowder, which means it's Detox January-safe -- heck, it's safe to eat whenever you like.
I thought about calling it "Skinny Clam Chowder" until I read on Twitter that appending the "skinny" moniker is "so over" this year, and, well, god forbid I look "so over." (Although don't tell that to the blogger at skinnytaste.com, which is where I got the inspiration for this soup; she might just have to change her blog name so she's not "so over.")
Besides being light, this recipe is also pretty fast and easy (you know that's my favorite combo), so it doesn't have to be relegated to a weekend meal. Go ahead, throw it into the weeknight rotation. Winter is a great time for body- and soul-warming soups like this.
I reduced the butter dramatically (just keeping enough to make a bit of a roux for thickening) and swapped out the usual heavy cream for some milk and half and half. I didn't want to end up with a thin chowder and, thankfully, I didn't.
If you like clams a lot (as I do), you might want to consider adding a third can of clams, too.
Do you love clam chowdah? What do you usually serve with it? The Ninj wants to know.
Lightened Clam Chowdah (adapted from Skinny Taste)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1 baking potato, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup low-fat half and half
1 cup vegetable broth
2 6-ounce cans clams, drained
1/2 cup clam juice (you can use the reserved juice you drained from the cans plus a bit more of the bottled kind)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
salt and pepper
In a medium-sized soup pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and saute until beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir for about a minute, until pasty. Add the milk, half and half, broth, clam juice, bay leaves, thyme and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low until the potatoes are tender (check them with a fork -- this took about 20 minutes for me).
Using a ladle, remove a little less than half of the soup and put it aside. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining soup in the pot until smooth. Return the rest of the soup to the pot, add the clams and more salt and pepper to taste and heat for a few more minutes before serving.