It doesn’t happen often but there have been times when we have more mashed potatoes than our digestive system could handle. While it is quite alright to keep leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge overnight and serve it again the following day, it’s never as good as when it’s hot and light and fluffy, and the melted butter smells so good. So, how can refrigerated mashed potatoes be put to good use? Clam chowder.
In a soup? Yes, in a soup. I’ve done it in the past to salvage a bowl of too salty mashed potatoes that I diluted with milk and turned too thin to be appetizing. Quite a salvage operation but it did work.
When I made clam chowder in the past, I either left the cubed potatoes whole or pureed them when I wanted a smooth chowder. This texture of my latest clam chowder, made with leftover mashed potatoes, is thicker than the one I made with pureed potatoes. Not because I used a huge bunch of mashed potatoes but because I used a roux as the base for the soup. I love how it turned out!
Clam Chowder With Leftover Mashed Potatoes
You may use shucked fresh clams (save the cooking liquid!) or canned clams (use the liquid from the can!).
Melt the butter in a pan.
Add the chopped bacon to the butter and cook until crisp. Scoop out and set aside.
To the mixture of bacon fat and butter, add the flour all at once. Stir to remove lumps. Throw in the thyme. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, to make a blonde roux.
Pour in 1 and 1/2 cups of clam broth and one cup of milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened.
Stir in one cup of mashed potatoes.
Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
If the soup appears too thick, add more clam broth, milk or mashed potatoes, or all of them. Remember to taste and adjust the seasonings after each addition.
When you're happy with the texture of the soup, add the clams. Simmer for about five minutes.
Sprinkle the bacon and parsley on the clam chowder before serving.