Recipe – Clam Chowder

I think most people enjoy a really good New England clam chowder (vegetarians aside) but I don’t know anyone who makes it themselves; probably because the thought of shucking fresh clams is daunting.

I want to share this recipe because it’s one of the best clam chowders I’ve tasted and you can make it using canned clams. It has a little kick, too – you can omit the chili if you prefer but it wouldn’t taste as lively.

This version isn’t as gluey as some others but it’s so chock full of clams and other good stuff that it’s a meal in itself; just serve with some hot crusty bread on the side. It’s also really easy to make – perfect for winter!

clam chowder 11.11 007


(Serves 4 as a main course)


3 x 8 oz (237ml) bottles of clam juice

1 lb (454g) of russet/baking potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch (approx 1cm) cubes

2 oz (57g) of butter

3 slices of bacon (streaky), chopped finely

2 medium onions, chopped

2 large celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bay leaf

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of all-purpose/plain flour

40oz (1.134g) of canned chopped or whole baby clams; drained and juices reserved

1 ¼ (300ml) cups of half and half (half and half is somewhere between full cream milk and cream, so get creative if you can’t buy it where you are)

¾ – 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes (adjust to taste)


Bring the bottled clam juice and diced potatoes to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Melt the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until just starting to brown; add the chopped onion, celery, garlic, chili flakes and bay leaf; sauté gently until tender.

Stir in the flour and mix really well – cook for 2 minutes; don’t allow the flour to brown.

Slowly whisk in the reserved juice from the canned clams.

Once it’s well blended, add the potato-clam juice mix and half and half, then simmer for at least 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.

You can make it up to 24 hours ahead – refrigerate and slowly bring to a simmer to serve.

About edibletcetera

I'm passionate about food; I cook, photograph, eat...then writes about it in that order. I'm also an occasional restaurant critic and caterer; a former newspaper columnist; author; social media/marketing communications; world traveler; dog lover; skier...and wit, (according to those who know me).
This entry was posted in Fish & Seafood, Soups. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Recipe – Clam Chowder

  1. Sue Ellen says:

    Sounds so good …. I am going to try this. Wish I had a bowl right now!

  2. chris tyler (Cuzn Chris) says:

    I wonder what the Old World equivalent of ‘Clam Juice’ is?

    I remember making clam chowder from real clams (gaper clams) dug out of the mud in the estuary or the river Tamar, on the border of Devon and Cornwall, in 1977, on a biology field course…..

    Of course, nobody pointed out just how polluted the Tamar was then (I gather it’s a lot cleaner now) and how efficient filter-feeders like clams are at concentrating stuff….

    Never been so ill, before or since. So your recommendation of tinned clams is a GOOD idea!

    (after 4 hours of utter misery I drank a pint of milk, and was ok…..)

    • Had a similar experience with Portree mussels I gathered at low tide 🙂 Never again! Canned clams come in their own juice, which you’ll use – you can probably get a tetrapak of fish stock – not sure the Asian fish sauce is right for this. Have you tried Google-ing clam juice? It’s the water that clams are cooked in…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s