Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder

13 Nov

I have always loved New England-style clam chowder.  Brine-y clams, soft, starchy potatoes, and rich cream combine to make something decadent and comforting.  I didn’t have all of the ingredients in a classic New England clam chowder – usually I see it with carrots and celery.  However, I had an abundance of potatoes and turnips from the CSA and some corn in the freezer that needed using up, so I figured I’d go with what I had on hand.  I also put a little twist on this by using leftover broth from a clam bake, which also included the chicken stock in which my dad steamed the clams.  Because of that, this doesn’t have the lovely creamy white color of a traditional New England clam chowder.  It does, however, have all of the delicious flavor.  If you want to stick closer to the look of the classic, use the substitutions I suggest below.

Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder

4-5 slices bacon

1 small yellow onion, diced

3 cups potatoes, scrubbed clean, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

1 cup turnips, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup corn kernels, defrosted if frozen

3 cups leftover clam broth from a clam bake, or 1 8 oz. bottle clam juice and 2 cups water, or 1 8 oz. bottle clam juice and 2 cups seafood stock

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 6.5 oz cans clams

1 pint half and half

2 green onions, dark green parts only

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add bacon and cook until crisp.  Reduce heat under pan to medium-low and remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop.

Add onion to the pan with the bacon drippings.  Cook until tender and translucent.  Transfer, with drippings, to a slow cooker.

Add potatoes, turnips, garlic, corn, and clam broth to the slow cooker.  Stir to combine.  Season liberally with freshly cracked black pepper.  Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours until everything is tender.

Stir in clams (with broth) and half and half and raise to high.  Cook, uncovered, another 30 minutes until heated through.

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