Healthier Slow Cooker Clam Chowder




Ingredients

• 3 6-½ ounce cans chopped clams
• 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
• 2 cups fat-free or low fat half and half
• ½ cup non-fat milk
• 2 pounds redskin potatoes, washed and cut into 1/3 inch pieces (no larger)
• 2 slices bacon, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup celery, cubed to 1/3 inch
• 1-¼ cup onion, finely chopped
• 1-½ teaspoon minced garlic
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 can of kernel corn, drained
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/3 tsp. thyme
• ½ tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)

Directions

1. Strain the juice from the canned clams into a large pot, and reserve the clams for later.
2. Add all of the clam juice (from clams and bottled clam juice), half and half, milk or water, the chopped potatoes, and bring to a simmer. Once this comes to a simmer, pour the ingredients into the slow cooker. Set on high for 4 hours.
3. Cook the bacon in a skillet until it is just crispy, but not burned. Strain and discard the bacon fat, and then set the bacon aside for later.
4. Add the olive oil to the pan along with the celery and onion. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is shiny and transparent. Add the garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. Next, add ¼ cup flour, cook with the vegetables for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the vegetables and drained corn to the slow cooker, along with the bay leaf, thyme, and salt.
5. Stir once an hour and add the bacon and the clams in the last ½ hour of cooking. Serve hot. Enjoy!