Clam Chowder Soup:
It’s raining in Encino and I love it! The rain makes me feel like it’s cleansing my soul and our polluted environment all at once. It’s funny how the simple things in life make us feel good. Rain, peace of mind and feeling positive. It’s also, the first day of the Chinese New Year. The year of the dragon, which I am. It means a good year for dragons. I’ll take all the good luck I can get.
Since it’s rainy I wanted something a little bit more hardy of a soup, so I’m eating a healthier version of Clam Chowder Soup.
Rain and Clam Chowder, you can’t go wrong with that…
Ali in the Valley
Photos by Ali
1 tbsp. olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup each chopped celery and carrot 1 tsp. minced garlic 4 strips bacon, chopped 1/4 cup flour 3 cups low-fat (1%) milk 1 1/2 lbs. red thin-skinned potatoes, cut into 1-in. chucks 4 cans (6.5 oz each) chopped clams, drained 2 bottles (8 oz. each) clam juice 1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1/2 to 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves or dried thyme leaves
Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, carrot and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a plate.
Cook bacon in pan, stirring, until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; discard all but 1tbsp. drippings.
Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly browned, about 1 minute. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly and letting mixture bubble between additions.
Add potatoes, clams, juice, salt, pepper, and reserved vegetables.
Simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 25 minutes. Add thyme and sprinkly with bacon.
Information on the Chinese New Year:
Monday marks the Chinese New Year, also called the spring festival, and one of the most important holidays in much of Asia, bringing together families.
The dragon is a symbol of power and strength, and those born under this sign are often predicted to have lucky and abundant lives. Their characteristics are said to be strong, intelligent and self-assured.
The lunar new year celebration begins on the first day of the lunar calendar and is expected to end on the first day of the full moon (Feb. 15).