Low-Fat New England Clam Chowder with Fresh Clams
From Cook's Country
While we didn’t eliminate bacon altogether from our recipe for Low-Fat New England Clam Chowder with Fresh Clams, we reduced the amount to just a few slices, and chopped it finely so the smoky, meaty flavor dispersed into every spoonful. A full pound of potatoes made the chowder especially hearty, without tipping the scales.
The key to thickening the chowder was an unconventional ingredient: instant potato flakes. Microwaving the flakes with some clam broth ensured they dissolved fully in the chowder, and a little cornstarch gave the soup a silky finish. Just a little fat-free half-and-half contributed the rich texture and flavor of full-fat cream—with a fraction of the fat and calories.
Since there is a large variation in size between different species of clams, calling for a specific number of hard-shelled clams would yield very inconsistent results. Instead, we call for 7 pounds of medium-size hard-shell clams, such as littleneck, topneck, or small cherrystone. Our tasters preferred the fluffy texture of russet potatoes in this chowder. While both instant potato flakes and potato buds will work here, avoid potato granules, which have a slightly metallic taste.
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