Celebrate National New England Clam Chowder Day: Jan. 21

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Easy Clam Chowder — Photo Courtesy of Marnely Murray

Celebrate National New England Clam Chowder Day by getting in the kitchen and cooking up a batch of clam chowder — or a delicious variation I personally love, scallop chowder.

Easy Clam Chowder Recipe

Courtesy of Becca Heflin-Donovan of itsyummi.com

3 slices of bacon, diced

1 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, or ½ tsp. dried

1 bay leaves

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black or white pepper

Dash of cayenne (optional)

1 Tbsp. flour

Liquid from the canned clams (2 6.5-oz. cans)

2 cups peeled and diced Yukon gold or baby red potatoes

4 oz. (½ liquid cup) fish or chicken stock

4 oz. (½ liquid cup) clam juice

2 6.5-oz. cans diced/minced clams

4 oz. (½ liquid cup) heavy whipping cream

Place bacon in a large soup or stockpot over medium heat; cook until it’s almost crisp. Remove bacon and place on paper towel to drain. Leave bacon grease in pan and add butter. Once butter has melted, add diced onion, celery, thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if using).

Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until onions become translucent, then add the flour and stir to combine. Allow to cook for 1 minute, add the reserved clam cooking liquid, the diced potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil, stirring fairly frequently, and then reduce the heat. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, usually about 8-10 minutes. Stir once or twice as the potatoes simmer.

Add the clams and the heavy cream. Bring just to a simmer, and then cook for 2-3 more minutes. Stir in cooked bacon, reserving some for garnish.

Scallop Chowder

Courtesy of cookingwithbooks.net

4 strips of bacon, finely diced

10 whole scallops

3 stalks of celery, finely diced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

½ large yellow onion, finely diced

1 tsp. concentrated tomato paste

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups fish stock

1 cup half-and-half

2 Tbsp. sherry or wine

1 Tbsp. Tabasco sauce

1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp. sweet paprika

Salt, to taste

Parsley for garnish

In a medium stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, but leave the fat in the pot. Sear scallops on both sides in the bacon fat, remove from pan, and reserve.

Lower heat to medium and sauté celery, carrots, and onion until translucent (about 10 minutes). Stir in tomato paste. Add butter and flour to make a light roux with the vegetables, and cook for another 5 minutes. Slowly add the fish stock, whisking until incorporated.

Lower heat to medium-low and add half-and-half, wine, Tabasco, and seasonings. Taste the bisque and season with salt to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the reserved crispy bacon.

While simmering, chop scallops. Add scallops to simmering bisque and check seasoning. Serve topped with scallops, fresh parsley, and crispy bacon.