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Corny Clam Chowder

I sent Shack and The Kid off to their boy's cottage weekend with a cooler full of lobsters, corn and other delicious things. I think it was an all flesh all the time kind of weekend and I have a feeling that nothing that didn't once draw some sort of a breath made it to the menu because the cooler came back with all the corn still in it.

So, what to do with all that corn? Make corn chowder of course. We all love corn chowder and even though it was really hot today, I liked the idea. When I went to the store I spied some fresh looking clams so those went into the basket too. The Kid really likes clams and he has been on a bit of clam chowder kick lately so it was a no brainer. The addition of sweet potatoes adds a bit more nutritional integrity and a nice hit of colour in an otherwise very white looking soup. 

Because I don't really like the classic,  super thick clam chowder that you often get, I didn't use any thickening agents in this one and in place of heavy cream, I used my handy, dandy evaporated milk with perfect results. If you like a really thick chowder, you are going to have to thicken it up with a slurry or something but if you are good with a thinner, really flavourful soup, this is your recipe.

Corny Clam Chowder

3 cobs of corn
4 cups of chicken stock to start and you should end up with approx 3 cups
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbls butter
1 onion, chopped finely
1 small stalk celery, chopped finely

2 cups potatoes, chopped into about 1/2" dice
1 cup of sweet potato, cut into 1/2" dice

1 142g can baby clams with juice
1 236ml  bottle clam juice
1 lb fresh clams (rinse them and keep them in the fridge in a colander set inside of a bowl, covered with a damp cloth until you need them)
fresh thyme
1 cup milk or evaporated milk
salt and pepper

cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and set aside in a bowl. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the bare corn cobs and let it simmer and reduce slightly, for about 1/2 hour or so. This will give the stock a stronger corn flavour and I always do this when I make any kind of corn chowder.

Heat a soup pot over med low heat and melt the butter before adding the bacon. Cook the bacon in that butter until it just starts to crisp up before you add the onion and celery. Saute the onion and celery in there until softened but not starting to brown at all, about 2 or 3 minutes. At this point, strain the stock that the corn cobs are simmering in and add that, discarding the cobs of corn. Pour the stock and the clam juice into the pot and bring to a light boil. Add in the potatoes, and yams and let it simmer lightly until the potatoes are cooked through, probably about 10 minutes. Add the canned clams, thyme and evaporated milk and bring back to a light boil. Throw in those raw clams and cover the pot for about 5 to 8 minutes until all of them them have steamed open. (throw away any clams that remain unopened after 8 minutes)

Serve with lots of crusty bread

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