Over the holidays, keep warm with this unique take on traditional creamy New England clam chowder, courtesy of Will Gest of Boom Restaurant at Brewer Pilots Point Marina in Westbrook, CT.

Gest’s version features chunks of sweet potato that lend a touch of southern flavor to this regional seafood staple. It’s a perfect way to keep warm during the offseason!

Prep Time:
20-30 minutes
2 quarts Ocean Fresh clam juice
1 red bell pepper, chopped
½ Spanish onion, chopped
5-6 celery stalks, chopped
3 strips bacon, chopped
2 cups clams, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes
½ quart heavy cream
½ pound unsalted butter
12 ounces flour
2 bay leaves
1 ounce oregano
1 ounce thyme
vegetable shortening or 10% oil

In a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot, add shortening or oil. Heat and add bacon; fry until soft. Add pepper, onion, celery, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and clam juice. Bing to a boil for approximately five minutes or until vegetables soften then add heavy cream.
While soup heats, boil the sweet potatoes until soft (al dente). Drain, peel and dice.
To make the roux (butter and flour mixture), melt half a pound of unsalted butter in a sauce pan and carefully fold in 12 ounces of flour with whisk until the mixture reaches a paste-like consistency.
In a stainless steel mixing bowl, add a scoop of roux and several cups of chowder and mix until roux has been absorbed. Transfer back to the main pot then repeat the process until all the roux has been mixed smoothly into the chowder. Add diced potatoes and serve with toasted bread or crackers.

Servings: 12 bowls

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