Not So New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:

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

STEP 1:

Parboil potatoes for 5 minutes in enough salted water to cover.

STEP 2:

Cook chopped bacon in a large heavy saucepot over medium heat until it is crisp and golden. Remove bacon from pan and reserve.

STEP 3:

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.

STEP 4:

Season with thyme and salt. Stir in wine, then clam broth and reserved liquid from clams, stirring well to blend.

STEP 5:

Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, add potatoes, Half & Half and CHOLULA HOT SAUCE.

STEP 6:

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.