On a whim, I bought a can of clams at Trader Joe's. It sat on my counter for several weeks, challenging me to open it up and be creative.
I have always loved creamy white clam chowder. Of course, these days I would feel guilty ordering it in a restaurant, being uncertain of the ingredients and nutritional information. I came up with a lightened version that alleviates all potential guilty feelings.
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 6.5-ounce can clams, liquid drained into 1-cup measuring cup, and clams finely chopped and set aside
Approximately 1/2 cup water
1 8-ounce potato, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons light butter
1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
1/4 cup half and half
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Coat large saucepan with olive oil spray and place over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until almost crisp. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add water to clam liquid to measure one cup. Stir into bacon mixture along with potatoes, salt, and pepper.
Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. In small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, whisk milk, half and half, and cornstarch together. Slowly pour into potato mixture and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved clams.
Pour into bowls to serve. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley, if desired. Makes 4 1-cup servings.