Potato-Leek Soup with Clams


Or call it Clam Chowder with Leeks. Either way, combining these two classic soup recipes dulls the strong flavor of the clams found in most chowders and adds something to chew on for people wanting to make soup into a meal instead of an appetizer.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Red potatoes, peeled and quartered
5-6 Pieces Bacon
1 TB Bacon grease
1 TB Salted butter
1-2 large Leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 medium Onion, white, diced
3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 bottle Clam juice
10-12 oz. Clams, whole with liquid
¼ cup Chicken broth, as needed to bring liquid to 2 cups
¼ tsp. Salt and pepper, each to taste
1 TB Cornstarch, dissolved in a little cold water or chicken broth
½ cup Half-and-half

Directions:
Boil potatoes until fork tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy and set aside. Add butter to bacon grease and stir in leeks, onion, and garlic until coated. Cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add clam juice and chicken broth (measure 2 cups) and stir in soft potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a boil, add cornstarch, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and pulse 3-4 times to desired consistency (or use an immersion blender). Return soup to the pan, add half-and-half and stir in clams. Heat to serving temperature. Dice or crumble bacon and either add to the soup or use as a garnish. Serves 4. Estimate 360 calories per serving.

Beer Pairing:
When the weather is cold, our thoughts turn to hearty soups. Pair this soup with a Belgian Ale (Wit, Pale, Saison, or Biere de Garde) or a Winter Warmer brewed in the English style (no pumpkin pie spice flavors). What you’re going for here is the warming quality of the esters and the alcohol notes which will enhance the feeling you were going for when you started craving soup.

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