Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

A New England clam chowder recipe that will become a favorite in your house — it is in mine!

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Today is National New England Clam Chowder Day! I’m not taking the day off but I did start celebrating last night by making chowder for dinner. I’m from clam chowder country, Massachusetts, so it’s sort of like mother’s milk to me.

I found this recipe in one of my Eating Well magazines. I’m used to making chowder with salt pork but bacon makes a great substitute. The combination of 2% milk and half-and-half provided enough creaminess. Best of all, there wasn’t any of that awful floury taste that I’ve experienced in some so-called chowders I’ve had in restaurants.

Guess what I’m having for breakfast this morning? Yup, chowdah! It’s always better the next day.

New England Clam Chowder recipe | Grabbing the Gusto

New England Clam Chowder | Grabbing the Gusto


New England Clam Chowder

You’ll need a large saucepan or pot with lid, medium bowl and whisk.

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium red potato, diced
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 3 6-ounce cans chopped clams and juice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Optional – Italian flat-leaf parsley

Heat oil in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Add onion, celery and thyme to the pan; cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add potato, clam juice and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt. Whisk some of the milk slowly into the bowl until all the flour is incorporated without lumps, then add the rest of the milk and cream and whisk to combine. Add the milk mixture to the pot and return the chowder to a simmer, stirring, over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add clams and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams are just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes more.

To serve, discard the bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with some of the scallions and maybe some parsley. Serves 6 if you can stick with one cup servings, good luck with that.

Serve with salad and sweet corn bread.

Original recipe: New England Clam Chowder, Eating Well, Sep/Oct 2008

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6 thoughts on “New England Clam Chowder

  1. Looks good. I make a super fattening one that I love. I had to come up with my own recipe because none out there ever satified my clam chowder fantasies.

    1. deirdrereid says:

      That sounds delicious. Is your recipe on your blog? I’ll go look. Chowder is such a great comfort food. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Mary Tate says:

    It’s always a bit surprising that a good Southern boy, Scott Tate, manages to make such a good New England Chowder at the beach!

    1. deirdrereid says:

      It would be surprising except that he’s such a good cook! Yup, his end-of-week chowder is always something to look forward to.

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