Market Street Clam Chowder

Market Street Clam Chowder (a modified version)
adapted from Market Street Grill
(Serves 12)

Ingredients:
3-4 potatoes, cut into 1/2″ dice
2 green peppers, cut into 1/2″ dice
2 small onions, 1/2″dice
4 stalks of celery, 1/2″ dice
3 or 4 leeks, cut into 1/2″ dice** (see note)
3, 6.5 oz. cans of chopped clams plus the juice
3/4 Tbsp. fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
6-7 stalks of fresh thyme
3-6 bay leaves
a couple of shakes of Tabasco sauce
4 cups water
1 stick butter
3/4 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
about 5-6 cups milk

Instructions:
Add all the vegetables, clams, clam juice, salt and pepper, thyme, bay leaves, Tabasco and water to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to mix. Cook the mixture over a very low heat for about 3 minutes. But be careful that it doesn’t brown. Set aside until ready to use.

When the potatoes are tender, remove the pot from the heat and add the butter/flour mixture to the stockpot. Stir well. The soup will get thick like cookie dough. Slowly add the milk and cream while stirring constantly until it reaches the consistency you want. More milk for a thinner broth, less milk for a thicker one. Taste and adjust salt and pepper and Tabasco according to your taste. When ready to serve, put the pot back on the stove and heat to serving temperature. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks before serving.

Serve with crackers, bread, or all by itself.

**Make sure you wash the leeks very well. They tend to be very dirty because of the soil they are grown in. I cut them in half vertically and into thin slices, then I wash them well under running water in a colander.

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