This is a recipe I made yesterday for my final family Christmas celebration of the season. My dad, aunt, and brother came in for The Feast of the Seven Fishes. Yes, I know you’re supposed to do that on Christmas Eve, but yesterday was the day that worked best for everyone, so that’s when we did it. My aunt is a fantastic cook, and we must have emailed recipes and menu plans back and forth fifty times over the course of the past couple of weeks. She brought in the most delicious tuna bean salad as part of a beautiful antipasto try (think home-canned roasted red peppers!), shrimp and rice casserole with toasted almonds (real comfort food), and lemon cookies so addictive I’ve had to hide them from Michael and the boys so they don’t make themselves sick! We actually didn’t make it through all seven fishes, partly because I hadn’t done all the prep work I should have (“marinate scallops in lime juice 3 hours” was one of the details I overlooked – OOPSIE!) and partly because of this soup. We just couldn’t stop eating it, even though we all knew there were many more courses to come. In fact, I totally forgot to take a picture of it, so this picture is the dregs from the bottom of the soup pot – and it was a BIG pot! This recipe was originally a copycat of Outback’s Onion Soup, but we substituted clam juice for some of the broth and added clams and WOW what a soup! And I promise this is something everyone will eat. My brother swears he hates clams, and he ate two bowls. Of course, the clams were minced very small and we neglected to tell him it wasn’t just plain onion soup.
OK, first make a white sauce:
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 6 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups milk
In a 1-quart sauce pan melt butter, then add flour and cook on medium heat until flour becomes thick and comes away from the sides of the pan. Add milk a little at a time, stirring with a whisk – do not allow lumps to form. Keep on medium heat and stir frequently until sauce reaches the consistency of thick pudding. Set aside.
Then on to the rest of the soup:
- 4 cups sweet onions, thinly sliced
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 8 oz. bottle clam juice
- 22 oz. chicken broth (30 oz. liquid total)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1/2 cup Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 2 cans minced clams
Melt butter in large pot, add onions and cook on low to medium heat until onions are soft and clear, but not brown. Add broth, clam juice, bouillon cubes, salt, and pepper. Heat through. Add white sauce, Velveeta cheese, and clams. Simmer on low until cheese is melted, then increase heat to medium and cook 30-45 minutes.