Cape May Cafe: New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Cape May Cafe, Beach Club Resort 

Serves 8 as a first course or 4 as a main course (8 cups of soup)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cups clam broth
3 medium-sized red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 (6 1/2 oz.) cans chopped clams, liquid reserved
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste
4 drops Tabasco sauce, or to taste
2 cups half-and-half

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and set aside.

In a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and the celery and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the clam broth, potatoes, chopped clams with their liquid, thyme, basil, salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Add the half and half and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Slowly add the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly, until well blended. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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