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Baby it's cold outside...Rich and creamy chowder to chase off the cold!

Posted by: valeriefender on Jan. 5, 2010

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Winter has arrived to most of the United States now, even states that rarely see snow or freezing temperatures are feeling it this winter! I heard on the radio this morning that even the sunny state of Florida is seeing freezing temperatures that threaten fragile fruit crops. Yes indeed, winter has arrived.

Many of us are on a quest to eat healthier and lighter now that a new year is upon us. Once in a while, however, a rich and comforting soup is just what you need to take the chill off after a day braving the bitter cold of winter. What better than a nice hot bowl of chowder?

Just after New Year, my husband drove to the coast and went clamming with a friend of his. It was bitterly cold, raining and just plain nasty out on the Washington coast that day, but it was the first clam dig in a while. My husband loves clams, I could go the rest of my life without having another one and be totally happy, however. Only one of our kids that live at home like them, so when there is a dig, my husband and son are in heaven!

This time, we decided to make up a big pot of chowder and invite some friends over to enjoy the bounty. My husband came home with his limit of razor clams and got them all ready for me to create a big pot of creamy goodness to make his efforts well worth it. Thankfully, he was not disappointed with the chowder I created for him.

I did some looking on line for some ideas on creating a "to die for" gluten-free clam chowder. After looking at several different tips and recipes, I came up with a very easy chowder recipe that could be used for clams, corn or any kind of chowder you could come up with. What could be better than a steamy bowl of creamy chowder that even your gluten-eating friends and family will find amazingly good? I know our friends loved it, there was very little left for my husband to enjoy the next day.

This chowder is thickened with two components, mashed potatoes and a roux made with rice flour and butter. If you want a thinner chowder, leave the roux out. The recipe is totally adaptable to your tastes and preferences. Personally, I love a thick creamy chowder, so I did use the roux as a thickener. Yes, even though I don't care for clams, I ate this chowder and loved it!

Making this chowder as per the recipe is wonderful, but if you want a lighter chowder there is no reason you could not substitute some or all of the heavy cream for a lighter option or even using stock in it's place. I have not tried that, but you would still have a wonderful tasting soup either way. If dairy is a problem, use your favorite non dairy substitute in place of the milk. You may want to add some dairy free margarine to the soup to add some extra richness. If you can tolerate dairy products, I would highly recommend making this as the recipe states once, however. It is too good not to try at least once.

Adding a side salad and a loaf of gluten-free French bread make this a complete meal. So good and perfect to come in from the cold to! This hearty soup will surely satisfy your craving for something creamy, hot and comforting. As an added bonus, it is not a chowder that takes a long time to make.

Many of the steps can be done ahead of time. Cook your potatoes in their skins, once they are cooked you can easily peel and chop them up to add to your soup later. Chop up your onions ahead of time as well. If all of the ingredients are ready to put into your soup pot, dinner can be ready in about half an hour.

If making bread is too time consuming, make up a batch of drop biscuits while your soup is heating and thickening. Another idea is to make up two loaves of French bread the next time you make it and freeze one loaf to pull out and toast to go along with this yummy chowder. I took a loaf of bread and sliced it down the middle to broil with garlic butter. It was out of this world and the perfect accompaniment with this chowder!

Try this recipe without the clams, add chopped ham and sweet corn. Use your favorite seafood in place of the clams. Just make sure that you are watching your fish to ensure that you are not overcooking it in the chowder. It took the clams only a few minutes to be perfect.

Enjoy a cozy evening with your family in your warm home enjoying a bowl of this steamy chowder!

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