Monday, May 17, 2010

slow cooker new england clam chowder

I think using a slow cooker is one of the best ways to prepare a stress free dinner.  During the winter we have slow cooker meals at least twice a week.  Most of the recipes in my repertoire are best served on cold winter evenings.  Who wants to scoop themselves a heaping bowl of beef stew when it's 80 degrees and sunny?  That is why I was so excited to come across this recipe for slow cooker New England clam chowder.  It is delicious and super easy! It does require you saute some bacon in a skillet.  I am now lucky enough to have one of those slow cookers where the insert can be used on the stove top and be transferred directly to the cooker.  If you use your slow cooker as much as I do, it's definitely worth the investment.  Check out Williams-Sonoma:

slow cooker clam chowder
4 (6.5) oz cans minced clams, with juice
1/2 lb bacon, diced (fat trimmed)
1 medium onion chopped
3/4 cup celery (about 3 large stalks)
4-5 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut
1 cup clam juice
3 cups chicken broth
1 t kosher salt
1 T dried dill
1/2 t celery salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T fresh parsley
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
4-6 T corn starch
2 T butter

1. Saute the bacon in a pan until browned, add onion and cook a few more minutes.  Do not add the onion until the bacon is brown!  
2. Add bacon and onion to crock pot along with clams, celery, clam juice, broth, salt, dill, celery salt and pepper. 
3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 6-7 hours.  
4. During the last hour add cream.  Mix cornstarch with milk and add to slow cooker.  Stir in butter.  Chowder is done when warmed through and thickened to your liking. Serve with fresh parsley. 

*Try a vegetarian version by omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth!

Prep ahead:  Do steps 1 and 2 the night before and put the pot in the fridge.  It only takes about 15 minutes!

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