I have Heather to thank for this. Little did she know that at the exact time I was fantasizing about some good clam chowder, she was cooking some up over in her tasty kitchen and let the Facebook world know. Thankfully she shared her recipe, and it's a great one. I made a few small tweaks to lighten it a bit, although I don't think it's light enough for Cooking Light standards. It's super yum, though. It had the husband drooling.
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
1 jar of clam juice
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
palmful of chopped parsley
1/4 to 1/2 stick of butter
up to 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart milk (I used whole)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
couple dashes of hot sauce
In a large skillet, fry up the chopped bacon until crispy. Transfer to a bowl and drain some of the grease out of the skillet. Leave a bit in there and add a tablespoon or two of butter. Once melted, saute all the vegetables for a few minutes until fragrant.
Drain juice from clams over the vegetables. Add the bottle of clam juice to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender. Toss in the parsley.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan (or crockpot), melt the remaining butter (about 1/4 stick) over medium heat (high if using crockpot). Whisk in flour, spoon by spoon, until you have a smooth paste. Whisk in milk slowly and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.
Stir in clams and reserved bacon just before serving. If they cook too much they get tough. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.