Not So New England Clam Chowder
4 cups Potatoes - peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
1 cup Sweet onion - chopped
1/2 cup Celery - diced into 1/4" cubes
4 slices Bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon powder
2 tablespoons All purpose flour
1 - 8 oz. Bottle Clam broth/juice (1 cup)
1/2 cup Dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon Thyme leaves (dried)
1/4 cup CHOLULA HOT SAUCE, or more to taste
1-10 oz. can Whole baby clams, reserve liquid
1 tablespoon Butter
2 cups Half & Half cream
Parboil potatoes for 5 minutes in enough salted water to cover.
Cook chopped bacon in a large heavy saucepot over medium heat until it is crisp and golden. Remove bacon from pan and reserve.
Saute chopped onion, garlic and celery in bacon fat in same pot over medium heat. When onion is translucent (approximately 4 minutes), sprinkle flour over vegetables, stirring for 1 or 2 minutes. Do not brown flour, but cook long enough to remove "raw flour" taste.
Season with thyme and salt. Stir in wine, then clam broth and reserved liquid from clams, stirring well to blend.
Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, add potatoes, Half & Half and CHOLULA HOT SAUCE.
Simmer (do not boil) for 20 or 30 minutes. Add clams, simmer 5 minutes more. Stir in crisp bacon bits. Correct seasonings and enjoy this heartwarming yankee classic's trip south of the border!
Try mixing a 10 oz. package of "oyster" crackers with 3/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup CHOLULA HOT SAUCE (season them if you like, with a bit of thyme and salt) and bake on a cooking sheet at 300 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. If they last long enough, serve them with your chowder.
Oh by the way, a late night refrigerator raid will convert you to a "chilled chowder champion" - vichyssoise never tasted this good.