I think the red wine vinegar is really optional. I tasted it before and after. I loved it before, not so much right after, but then once it sat for a little while, I couldn't really tell the difference, so either way it turns out fine (though, I only added 1 T and not the 2 called for). I used clam juice in place of the water (3 bottles), and I poured the juices from 4 cans of minced and chopped clams into the pot as well. Once the veggies were softened, I used a potato masher to mash it for a few seconds, to break up the potatoes a bit, because I like a thicker consistency. Also, I used half bacon grease and half butter for the roux, and 3 T. of cornstarch and 2 T of flour, rather than 3/4 cup of flour (I'm gluten sensitive, so I try to avoid wheat as much as I can). I was worried it would all be too runny once I combined everything together, but it was the perfect consistency. I did let the clam juice and veggies reduce quite a bit, but there was still plenty of liquid in the pot before adding the half and half mixture. Overall, I was very pleased.
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I think the red wine vinegar is really optional. I tasted it before and after. I loved it...