Scallop Chowder with Bacon, White Beans and Potatoes

By The Gourmet Farm Girl

1 ½ pounds bay scallops
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 slices of bacon (chopped)
3 stalks celery with some of the (light) green leaves
Or 3 stalks fresh leeks chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon celery seeds
2-3 bay leaves
2 medium potatoes (cut into chunks)
1 can (15oz) white beans rinsed and drained
1 (8oz) bottles of clam juice
½ c dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay)
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

If using fresh scallops remove straps and set aside, or use scallops that have been frozen and thawed; cut scallops into bit size pieces.
In a large pot over medium heat add the oil and chopped bacon; cook until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel reserving the bacon fat in the pan. Add celery, garlic, thyme, celery seeds and the bay leaves to the bacon fat, reduce heat; cover and stir on occasion
 simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the celery starts to tender.
Increase heat to medium and add the clam juice, chicken stalk, wine and potatoes; simmer until the potatoes soft, about 10-12 minutes, using a wooden spoon smash some of the softened potatoes against the side of the pan to help thicken the broth. Add white beans, half-and-half, butter, salt and pepper and the scallops. Cover and let simmer until the scallops are opaque and heated through. About 5-7 minutes. Stir on occasion and taste test…adjust seasoning if needed.
When ready to serve; garnish with the cooked bacon pieces.
Serves 5-6
ENJOY!