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Bar Americain Sweet Potato Chowder

Chowder Base 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons flour 2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted, peeled and pureed (with a ricer or food processor) Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup dry white wine 2-3 cups bottled or canned clam juice 1. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the sweet potato puree and salt and pepper and cook until the puree is slightly thickened (you are making a sort of sweet potato roux). Increase the heat to high, add the wine and cook until completely reduced. Add the clam juice and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, if the mixture appears to be too thick, thin with a little extra clam juice or water, season with salt and pepper. Strain the mixture into a bowl and return to the pan. Assemble 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 teaspoons canola oil 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice Salt and freshly ground pepper 4 slices slab apple wood smoked bacon, cut into small dice 12 fresh littleneck clams, scrubbed 1 cup dry white wine Sweet potato base 2 teaspoons honey 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh clams (steamers or cherrystone) ½ cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon These steps can be done while the base is cooking. 1. Heat the butter and oil in a small sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until golden brown and caramelized. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. 2. Heat a pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. 3. Bring wine to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the clams, cover and cook until all clams open, discarding any that do not, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. 4. Bring sweet potato chowder base to a simmer. Add the cooked bacon, sweet potatoes and honey and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped clams and cook for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook an additional minute or until just heated through. Ladle into bowls and garnish each bowl with 3 clams in the shell and a sprinkling of fresh tarragon. Serve immediately.

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