New England Clam Chowder: Hearty and Classic

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New England Clam Chowder is a classic dish in New England that was created by fishermen and their wives. It’s a hearty soup made with clams, potatoes, onions celery, salt, and pepper. Clam chowder is not only delicious but it’s also good for you! It can be eaten as an appetizer or even as a meal on its own. This recipe will give you everything you need to know about New England Clam Chowder!

What is a chowder?

Chowder is a rich, creamy soup that often contains clams and potatoes. Seafood chowders are typical in the Northeast. New England Clam Chowder is one of the more popular ones and claims to be the most famous. Just ask someone from Massachusetts or Rhode Island. Other seafood chowders skip the clams and swap in scallops, shrimp, lobster, or crab. While soups can be thin and light, chowder is characterized by being rich and thick. Like stew, it contains large chunks of meat or seafood and vegetables, notably potatoes. Regardless of the ingredients used, chowder is always chunky, and most variations are creamy.

When done right, clam chowder should be rich and filling, but not sludgy or stew-like. Its texture should be creamy without feeling heavy. The potato should be soft and should melt in your mouth. Their soft texture along with the bacon bits and celery leaves your pallet mouth-watering.

What does New England Clam Chowder taste like?

New England Clam Chowder is made from a broth of milk, bacon, and onion. The clams are added with salt after they have steamed open in the liquid. You can use fresh clams but when you can’t canned clams can also be used. This dish has a rich buttery flavor that comes from adding flour to thicken the stock and cream or cream or milk). Finally, it’s always served hot. Cold chowder would be…weird.

One thing you should know about clam chowder is that there are many variations of this dish from thick and creamy to thinner. The thicker the clams, potatoes, vegetables, and milk are cooked together then it will result in a more hearty soup. If the ingredients cook for less time then they’ll be used as broth instead which produces a lighter chowder.

The flavor of a clam chowder should be mild, you need to let the flavors blend. You do not want your spices to overpower your chowder. The combination of bacon and the clams are complemented by the celery and the onion. You do not want to overcook them to the point where you don’t see them. You should be able to still them in the chowder. Once your chowder is ready you want to make sure to add a crack of black pepper for taste. The salt should be added with caution because you do not want too much of it which can cause your chowder to become overly salty as it sits.

You will know your chowder is ready when the potatoes are tender but not completely breaking apart. You need to have potatoes that will absorb the liquid but not produce excess water. There is no need to thicken this soup; it will do its own thickening as it cools in a refrigerator or on a cold day.

How to serve your chowder?

The best way to serve your New England Clam Chowder is with oyster crackers or saltine crackers. You can also make a delicious sandwich by using bread, butter then a layer of mayonnaise, and the chowder on top. Another way is to make a soup bowl by taking a round sourdough loaf cutting out the middle, scooping the inside out, and toasting the insides of the loaf as croutons.

4.34 from 3 votes

Classic New England Clam Chowder

Creamy white based soup great for all times of the year..
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chopped Clams
  • 8 ounce(s) Bacon Small Dice
  • 1 whole Spanish Onion Small Diced
  • 3 stalk(s) Celery Small Diced
  • 1 tbsp(s) Garlic Minced
  • ½ pint(s) Heavy Cream
  • 1 lb.(s) Roux See How to video
  • ½ bunch(s) Parsley Thinly Sliced
  • 1 bunch(s) Scallions Thinly Sliced
  • 1 tbsp(s) Thyme Leaves
  • 1 cup(s) White Wine
  • 2 whole Potato Small Diced
  • 1 To Taste Salt & Pepper
  • 1 quart(s) Clam Stock or Juice

Instructions

  • Gather all your ingredients. Begin by adding two sauce pans and begin heating.
  • Add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and bacon to one of the pots and begin to brown the bacon to render all the fat.
  • In the other pot add about a gallon of water and clam base or simply bring the clam juice to a simmer. Set aside for later use.
  • After about 4-8 minutes add onions, celery and garlic to the pot. Sauté till vegetables begin to get translucent. ( Don't brown the vegetables.)
  • Deglaze the pot with a cup of white wine, add the chopped clams, potato and the clam juice or clam stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Then let cook at a simmer for about 10-12 minutes for the potato to soften.
  • Once you reached a boil, lower the flame and add the heavy cream and your blonde roux. Keep at a simmer and stir the contents till the roux begins to thicken the soup. Reminder: when adding the roux always add cold to hot or hot to cold so there is no lumping. (See our video: https://www.mypreptable.com/how-to-make-roux/)
  • Once soup is thick and creamy, add remaining fresh herbs to pot, stir well and let soup sit for at least 1/2 hour to give the flavors time to bond.
  • Place in a soup bowl and garnish with choice of croutons, more herbs, crème fresh, chives and serve.

Notes

New England Clam Chowder is a classic comfort food. Easy to prepare following our recipe, this is a great recipe to make on a day when you just want some great soup that has potatoes, bacon, celery, onions and spices to taste. Clam chowder is usually served with saltine crackers or small, hexagonal oyster crackers.
Author: Nikolaos Saragias
Calories: 20kcal
Course: Seafood, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: clam chowder, Clams, Comfort Food, Soup

Nutrition

Calories: 20kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 195IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Join the Conversation

  1. Kennith Koda says:

    Hello there, You’ve performed an excellent job. I certainly dig it. I am sharing this with my friends. I am confident they will benefit from this recipe.

    1. Debbie Vasiadis says:

      Thank you. Please let us know how the recipe worked out.

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