This recipe started life as "Cheater's Chowder", because it was a way to make a keto variant of clam chowder in about 15 minutes. But even when not trying to diet, I like this enough to keep making it, because it's quick, it's filling, and it's tasty. (Also, chunky not smooth, because Calmer Half prefers that.)
Then I moved to Texas, and the spices started to change. As well as the "what do I have in my fridge?" All measurements are rough guesses.
Quick Clam Chowder Slightly More Southwest
1-2 onions, diced
1-2 poblano peppers, diced
1 cup celery, sliced thin
1 cans clams (do not drain)
4 cups chicken stock (or water + better than bullion)
1/2-1 cup bacon crumbles (real, not fake bacon. Saute and dice if you don't have crumbles)
1-2 Tbsp bacon grease (or olive oil, if you're out of bacon grease and have crumbles)
1 Tbsp thyme
1/2 tsp mesquite-smoked salt, or to taste (depending on the saltiness of your stock and bacon)
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chipolte powder
1Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups half & half
1 steamer bag riced cauliflower, or 1 small-medium head of cauliflower, chopped fine (yay food processor)
First, chop your cauliflower, if needed. Put in a bowl, add a splash of water, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top. Pop in microwave for 8 minutes. Or, you know, put steamer bag in there and follow directions.
Put heavy stockpot on the stove - I prefer an enameled cast iron dutch oven, but whatever makes you happy. Beware: this recipe can grow. Throw lump of bacon grease in, set to med-high heat. If you don't have bacon crumbles, chop frozen bacon into diced bits and toss in to fry. If you have thawed bacon only, fry, then pull out to crumble when cooled. Cook twice as much bacon as you need, so you can snack while working. Cook's privilege!
Dice poblanos, toss in to saute. Chop celery, toss in, stir. Chop onion, toss in, stir. When fairly sauteed, toss bacon in, stir. Add the salt, spices, and garlic, stir. When the garlic is nicely mellowed, add bay leaves, stock, and the can of clams, and stir to get all the browned bits off the bottom. When it comes up to a simmer, add the half & half.
Pull the cooked cauliflower out of the microwave, carefully open bag / pull cover off, dump in soup. When it comes back up to a simmer again, taste and adjust spices/ salt if needed. Serve!