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Saratoga Grill New England Clam Chowder

1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
1 T. olive oil
2 strips bacon, cut crossways into 1/2-inch strips
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 C. dry white wine
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
dash hot pepper sauce
1 t. basil
1 t. oregano
1 t. white pepper
1 t  celery salt
1 t  thyme
1 t  granulated garlic
4 C. clam juice
1 medium russet potato, diced
1 bay leaf
4 C. chopped clams
1 quart half-and-half
salt, to taste
garlic seasoned croutons, for garnish

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes to make a pale golden roux. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat; add bacon and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to render fat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add wine, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, basil, oregano, white pepper, celery salt, thyme and garlic and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to distribute spices. Add clam juice, potato and bay leaf. Cook 10 to15 minutes until potato is just tender.

Add chopped clams and half-and-half. Bring soup to just below a boil and whisk in room-temperature roux. Soup should immediately thicken to consistency that coats the back of a spoon. Adjust seasoning, adding a little salt if necessary. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat.

Serve with garlic seasoned croutons, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

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