Clam Chowder

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Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

Growing up on the Olympic Peninsula, we routinely took the ferry across the Puget Sound to Seattle… or to just about anywhere else.  Ferry rides were simply a routine part of our life.  When I think of clam chowder I think of those countless ferry rides we took back and forth, and the famous Ivar’s chowder {always with oyster crackers} served aboard the ferries, and throughout Seattle and the greater Puget Sound area.

Though I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where clam chowder is a staple comfort seafood, I had never made it until this fall.  After recently making a southwestern corn chowder I decided to attempt real chowder, that is, the clam chowder that comes to mind whenever I hear the word “chowder”.  I followed Simply Recipe’s chowder as a guide, making some adaptations, including using half and half instead of cream.  I realize that Ivar’s and all of the other famous chowder places use heavy cream, but my family thought the half and half made it plenty hearty, rich and creamy.

Clam Chowder
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
My family thought this chowder made with half and half instead of cream was still plenty rich and creamy.
  • 1 pound clams (roughly)
  • 1-2 cups water or clam broth (made from steaming the clams)
  • 2 Russet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2-4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 purple onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2+ Tbsp flour
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Dash of paprika, optional
  • Parsley, chopped or torn into small pieces
Preparing the clams
  1. Rinse the clams and scrub them if necessary to remove any excess dirt or mud on the outside.
  2. Place them in a bowl, cover them with water and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove them from the bowl and discard any clams that are chipped, broken or open (and do not close when touched).
  4. Place the clams in a medium-sized pot and add water to reach about half the height of the clams.
  5. Bring the clams to a boil and let them simmer and steam, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the clams open.
  6. Discard any clams that do not open.
  7. Remove the clams from the broth and let them cool.
  8. Save the broth for the soup, straining it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any grit/debris, if necessary.
  9. Scoop the clams out of the shell and chop them into small pieces.
Clam Chowder
  1. In a large pot, cook the chopped bacon until the fat renders and the bacon starts to brown a little.
  2. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until tender for several minutes.
  3. Cover the mixture with several tablespoons of flour, depending on how thick you want the soup.
  4. Pour in the white wine and stir until the flour thickens.
  5. Add the potatoes and carrot, and then add the clam broth.
  6. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer, letting the potatoes cook for 20 minutes or until tender.
  7. Stir in the clams and the half and half and let the soup simmer, seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, paprika, and parsley.

Clam Chowder

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