New England Clam Chowder -Súp Sữa với Hến

Vietnamese food

Soup always is a comfort food for a weary soul and body. There are days when we are so sick, tired, and stressful and do not want to eat.  If we are lucky, we have somebody who will cook and force us to eat  a bowl of steamy warm soup and put us to bed, perhaps with some medication. Soup with milk base is not a popular dish in Vietnam in general but is on the menu in some of Saigon & Hanoi’s upscale restaurants.

Make 5-6 servings
4 thin slices bacon, about 4 oz, cut into small pieces
1 lb potato, peeled & cubed 1/2 in chunks 
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cans (10 oz each) minced or whole clams, drained & reserved liquid
1/2 tsp  packed fresh or frozen thyme or 1/8 dried thyme
1/4 cup all purpose flour and extra 1-2 Tbs for thicker soup
3 cups whole milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan (at least 2.5 quarts) fry bacon on medium low heat w/o oil until brown and crispy.  Remove and drain on papper or a small strainer.  Keep 2 Tbs of  bacon dripping in  the same pot, add onion, garlic, celery, potato, salt, pepper, thyme and stir a few minutes over medium heat until veggie release aroma but not brown.  Add clam juice, bring it to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium low to simmer, covered and cook until potato soft about 10 minutes.  Mix 1/4 cup flour with milk and add to the pot. Stir over medium heat until mixture thicken. This soup is thinner than canned soup.  If you want thicker soup, add extra 1-2 Tbs flour mixed with a little bit water. When the soup has your desired thickness, stir in clams, simmer until heat through about 3-5 minutes but do not let it boil.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Laddle in bowls/bread bowls, ganish with crumbled bacon.
*Note: Thyme can be frozen in its container.

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