Bella Noir's New England Clam Chowder

We all know that most comfort food is filled with all sorts of warm, gooey goodness and, unfortunately, loads of fat and calories. Fortunately, the good folks over at EatingWell.com have a wonderful selection of classic comfort food recipes that have been trimmed down and made more healthy. My selection for the day will be the following New England Clam Chowder recipe. What are some of your favorite comfort foods? Do you think that by making comfort food recipes healthy, it can no longer be considered comfort food?

Serves: 6

Makes 6 servings, generous 1 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 medium red potato, diced
  • 1, 8- ounce bottle clam juice (Bella Noir recommends Bar Harbor)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces fresh clam strips, chopped, or (3) 6.5 ounce cans chopped clams, rinsed (Bar Harbor makes these too!)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer half of the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Add onion, celery and thyme to the pan; cook, stirring until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add potato, clam juice and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Whisk milk, cream, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the pan and return to a simmer, stirring, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add clams and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams are just cooked through, about 3 minutes more.

To serve, discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with some of the reserved bacon and scallions.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving: 253 calories; 13 g fat (6 g sat, 4 g mono); 59 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 1 g fiber; 585 mg sodium; 392 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Iron (50% daily value), Vitamin C (23% dv), Calcium (2.1% dv), Vitamin A (17% dv), 1 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 low-fat milk, 1 lean meat, 2 fat

Recipe and photo courtesy of EatingWell.com. All Rights Reserved.

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