Forget that canned stuff! This is so easy and you will want to make it again and again. This is from Rachael Ray, and I think it is one of her best! You can lower the fat content by nixing the bacon and using veggie oil. You can also use less half and half, and more broth or milk. (I prefer it with less half and half than called for) Perfect on a cold day! Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery & leaves, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce, eyeball it
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 pint half-and-half
- 3 cups chicken stock, from soup aisle
- 1 cup raw hash brown potatoes, from dairy aisle of the market
- 2 (10 ounce) cans baby clams, and their juice
- In a medium pot over medium high heat melt butter. Add bacon, onions, celery, carrot, and thyme sprigs. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce and cook 5 minutes. Add flour and cook a minute more.
- Add half-and-half and stock and bring to a bubble, then stir in potatoes and clams. Bring soup back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked and soup has thickened to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove the thyme sprigs from the soup. The thyme leaves will have fallen off into the soup. Stir and adjust seasonings in your soup. Pour soup into mugs. Top with shredded cheese or green onions if desired.