Clam Chowder is a favorite of mine, especially homemade. My son has decided he doesn’t like anything that comes out of the sea. But, he likes this. This soup is full of flavor because of a secret ingredient – and it’s gluten-free. Serve it with Old Bay Biscuits and make it a family favorite.
Traditional clam chowder usually has either salt pork or bacon in it. You can see my recipe for Hearty Clam Chowder does have salt pork in it. The salt pork adds flavor, or if you don’t have salt pork, bacon fat would also add flavor. But, what if you don’t want any meat at all and still want the flavor? What is the difference between a slice of pork and a slice of bacon? The bacon has been smoked – that’s what gives it that great flavor. So what’s the answer here? The answer is Liquid Smoke.
Liquid Smoke for Clam Chowder
You have to be careful with Liquid Smoke. It’s very, very strong, and a little bit goes a long way. Liquid smoke is a natural product made from condensing the smoke from burning wood. For that reason, if you use too much, well, your food is going to taste like wood. But, if you use just a tiny bit, you can get that smoky flavor that you want. I highly recommend an eye dropper for this task. Use your favorite brand of liquid smoke, I happen to prefer Wright’s Hickory Liquid Smoke.
Safe for Gluten-Free
Neither I nor anyone in my family has a gluten intolerance, but I know there are a lot of people who either have celiac disease or other intolerance to gluten. This recipe is also safe for gluten-free as it does not use flour to thicken it, only the starch that comes from the potatoes. If you want it thicker, by all means, make a roux with your preferred flour and butter.
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- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon bacon fat
- 3 drops Liquid Smoke
- 1 potato, cubed
- 8 oz clam juice
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon *vegetable base
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 can clams, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 3 drops Tabasco
- Heat a large saucepan and melt the butter and bacon fat. Add the liquid smoke and stir it into the butter mixture.
- Add the onions and saute them until they are translucent.
- Add the potatoes and saute them with the onions for a minute or so.
- Add the clam juice, milk, vegetable base, Old Bay seasoning, and salt. Taste for seasoning.
- Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Add the clams, cream, and Tabasco and mix in thoroughly and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.
- Put the soup in a nice tureen and serve.