Clam chowder in under 30 minutes? Yes, it is possible thanks to the wonders of the microwave oven which cooks food in the fraction of the time. Another short cut I used is canned clams. Instead of steaming or boiling fresh clams, I use a can of pacific clams (both clams and clams broth), which also turns out to be a great time saver. I dress up the soup in a cute edible soup bowl (which can be purchased at selected delis; update: I got mine from Soup Spoon) which is reminisce of the clam chowder served in sour dough bread bowl I had in San Francisco. The final result looks quite gourmet to me. Try this recipe when you have guests over – they may be surprised when you tell them that you whipped this up in a microwave oven!
I am using the pacific clams (鲍贝/bao bei) which is commonly used for steamboat, but you may use any type of canned clams.
This is a cheaters, under 30-minute microwave recipe for clam chowder. Adjust the amount of clam broth for the consistency - for example for a less chunky soup, add more broth/hot water a little at a time. On the other hand, stir in more cream if you want the soup creamier.
Serves:4 (fills 2 bread bowls)
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
2 US russet potatoes peeled and diced
1/4 onion peeled and chopped finely
2 slices of streaky bacon chopped finely
a small knob of butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 dried bay leaves
1 can of pacific clams reserve the clam broth
4 tbsp frozen vegetables (corn and carrot)
splash of dry white wine optional
sea salt to taste
microwave-safe casserole with lid
wooden or silicon spatula for mixing
Add chopped bacon in a microwave-safe casserole and microwave on high (900 watts) with lid on for 2 minutes.
Add chopped onions and butter. Microwave on high with lid on for another 2 minutes.
Stir well, add diced potatoes and flour.
Add clam broth (about 200ml, adjust according to your liking) and bay leaves. Mix well. Microwave on high with lid on for 7 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
Add frozen vegetables and microwave on high with lid on for another 1 minute.
Discard bay leaves. Now, while the soup is still hot, stir in cream and mix well into the soup (I added about 3 tbsp to achieve the consistency I like).
Stir in the clams (I added about half a can). If you like, you can also add a splash of dry white wine. Season with sea salt. Serve in a soup bowl or an edible bread bowl. Garnish with fresh parsley.
Noob Cook Tips
Instead of cream, you can substitute with milk, crème fraiche or double cream depending on your preferred consistency.
For a healthier but still chunky version, add more flour in step 3 and use low fat milk or even evaporated milk.
Adjust the amount of clam broth for the consistency – for example for a less chunky soup, add more broth/hot water a little at a time. On the other hand, stir in more cream if you want the soup creamier.