- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery with greens, chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce, eyeball it
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 pint half-and-half
- 2 cups chicken stock, from soup aisle
- 1 cup hash brown style raw shredded potatoes, from dairy aisle of the market
- 2 cans whole baby clams and their juice
Deviled Ham Melts:
- 2 sandwich size English muffins, split
- 3/4 pound boiled deli ham, chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 3 to 4 tablespoons yellow mustard, squirt top bottle -- eyeball it
- A handful parsley, curly or flat
- 8 deli slices, about 8 to 10 ounces, white sharp Cheddar
In a medium pot over medium high heat melt butter. Add bacon and onions, celery and thyme sprigs. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce and cook 5 minutes. Add flour and cook a minute more.
Add half-and-half and stock and bring to a bubble, then stir in potatoes and clams. Bring soup back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked and soup has thickened to coat the back of a spoon.
Heat toaster oven or broiler then toast split English muffins. While muffins toast, grind ham with paprika, hot sauce, mustard, and parsley in a food processor. Spread ham on toasted muffins. Top each muffin half with 2 slices Cheddar and melt cheese in toaster oven or under broiler.
Remove the thyme sprigs from the soup. The thyme leaves will have fallen off into the soup. Stir and adjust seasonings in your soup. Pour soup into mugs. Serve with deviled ham and cheese mug toppers.