Simple Clam Chowder; 4 servings (approx 1 cup each):
1 bacon slice
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
Pinch of salt (I used Lawry's Seasoned Salt)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained
1/3 pound diced peeled baking potato (I used one Organic Yukon Gold potato)
1-1/2 bottles clam juice (approx 12 oz)
1 bay leaf
1 cup 2% Lactose Free milk
8 teaspoons whole wheat flour
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving the drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside.
Add onion, celery, salt, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Drain clams, reserving liquid. Add clam liquid, potato, clam juice, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Discard bay leaf.
Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth (or shake vigorously in an old jar or yogurt container like I did - works much faster than using a whisk!). Add flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 12 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add clams; cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon and cracked black pepper.