Saturday, October 13, 2012

New England Clam Chowder

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The start of the fall season also happens to be the start of soup season. After all, what’s better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold or rainy day? It’s just as well then that my schooling has taken a turn toward soups in the past week, and there are a number of fantastic recipes I’m excited to share with my readers here. So over the next week or so, I’ll be posting all soup, all the time.

First up is a creamy, flavorful, New England clam chowder. It’s always been one of my favorite soups, and I was surprised to learn how easy it is to make.

Difficulty: Relatively Easy
Active Prep Time: About 45 minutes
Total Prep Time: About 45 minutes
Special Equipment: None
Serves: 2


  • ½ cup clams (canned, chopped)
  • 1½ tablespoons thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or clarified butter
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 potato, diced (small cubes, about ¼" x ¼" x ¼")
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • ½ cup water
  • About ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

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1. Do all of your vegetable prep first. Dice your onion and set aside. Mince your garlic and set that aside as well. Finally, dice your potato and submerge the pieces in a bowl of water until needed.

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2. Dice about half a strip of bacon and set aside.

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3. In a sauce pot, add the oil or butter and heat over a low flame. Add the bacon and render it until part of the fat has melted off. Stir or toss frequently to prevent the bacon from burning.

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4. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Sauté them until the onion is partially translucent (this is called “sweating”).

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5. Once the onion is partially cooked, add the flour to the pot and whisk it in to absorb the oil and fat. This creates a roux that will ultimately assist in the thickening of the soup.

6. Pour in the clam juice and water, and whisk well. Add your potato and chopped thyme to the pot and stir well. Simmer over low heat until the potatoes are tender and the liquid in the pot has reduced by about 25%.

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7. In a separate bowl, measure out the appropriate amount of cream. Add a ladle full of the soup liquid to the cream and mix well. Pour the mixture back into the main pot, then add the clams.

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8. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until the soup has reached a creamy consistency (About 5 – 7 minutes). Season as necessary with salt and white pepper.

9. Serve in a warmed soup bowl with a bit of parsley for garnish.

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