Summer's never very far away when you live in Tucson although as we speak it is a mere 42 degrees and yesterday's high was only in the mid sixties. I understand that's nothing to some of you hunkered down in freezing snowy weather, but it's fleece season in these parts and a great excuse to make soup.
Do you recall the Clam, Corn & Basil Cakes we had a little while ago with sundried tomatoes and fresh basil? Well, we enjoyed the flavors so much I thought I'd reproduce them in a soup. Loaded with sweet corn, potatoes, smoky bacon and Oregon coast clams from July's vacation, this bowl of briny goodness is creamy, light and bursting with the flavors of summer. It's the hint of sun dried tomatoes and wonderful pungent fresh basil that put this chowder into a class of its own.
For those of you unable to eat shellfish, I daresay it would be pretty darn tasty without clams - just add another cup of corn! Download Summer Chowder with Clams and Corn
Summer Chowder - Clams, Corn, Sun dried Tomatoes & Basil
3 bacon slices, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups corn, fresh off the cob or frozen
3 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch cubes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half & half cream
2 tablespoons flour (I used instant blending Wondra)
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1-1/2 cups uncooked clams, chopped or 2 cans clams, drained *
Salt & pepper to taste
In a medium sized pot cook bacon until browned but not crisp. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and butter and cook until onion is transparent – about 5 minutes. Add corn, potatoes, water and white wine. Lower heat to simmer and cook covered until potatoes are just tender – about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add milk to pot. Whisk flour into half and half and add to pot, stirring well to combine. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until chowder is slightly thickened and mixture has just barely boiled. Add sun dried tomatoes, basil and clams. Remove pot from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes to cook clams. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary. Makes 4 servings.
* Note – if using canned clams, replace 1/2 cup water with liquid from the clams.