Cooking On A Budget: New England Clam Chowder - Creamy and Delicious!

Monday, February 20, 2012

New England Clam Chowder - Creamy and Delicious!


NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER is one of my favorite soups. Years ago I made it at my small food to go restaurant and one guy said, "Don't tell my Mom but this is better than hers!" And last year at hour holiday gathering I made this the day ahead and put it in the crock pot to keep warm during the party. It was a gigantic hit. People kept going back to the pot for more. That's testament to the deliciousness of this clam chowder.

I have been wanting to re-post the recipe - update the text and of course the photographs! When I originally posted this I am not sure if I used my small digital camera or used my ancient flip phone. Needless to say the photograph wasn't great.

The key to getting this rich and creamy is to use all of those ingredients that unfortunately make this on the fatty side like butter, heavy cream and half and half. You will be pleased with the end results. Make this for the upcoming Super Bowl Party you are hosting or attending and I am sure you will get rave reviews.

  • 5 Yukon Gold potatoes - peeled and diced into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 strips bacon - cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup celery - small dice
  • 1 cup sweet onion - small dice
  • 3 - 10 oz. cans baby clams- drained (reserve the clam juice just in case)
  • 5 cups clam juice
  • 1 stick butter (or margarine)
  •  2/3 cup flour (all purpose)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic (roughly 2-3 small cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch and 3 tbsp. heavy cream = a slurry
  • Extra salt and pepper to taste

  1. To begin the recipe, cook the potatoes in a separate pot just until they are fork tender on the outside. Do not over cook them.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  2. In a stock pot over moderate heat, cook the bacon pieces until they start to crisp.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium low and add in the celery and onions. Stir and cook for about 6-8 minutes until they are nice and soft and have given off their juices. Add in the fresh thyme and the 1 tsp. of black pepper.
  4. Next add in the chopped garlic, stir and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 1 minute and then add in the stick of butter and melt it down.  Add in the 2/3 cup of flour and keep stirring the roux mixture until you know you have cooked out the strong flour taste - about 4-5 minutes.
  5. To the roux, whisk in the clam juice, one to two cups at a time making sure it gets all incorporated. Add in the cooked potatoes.
  6. At this point, add in the half and half and 1 cup heavy cream and stir well. You will want to taste for salt and additional pepper. The last to go in are the canned clams.
  7. Mix well and cook for a few minutes on low heat.
  8. Once you have done that, if you want it more thick, make a slurry mixture (as shown above).  Turn the heat back up and bring the soup up to a slight bubble.  Then, using a whisk add the slurry to the soup and keep stirring so there are no lumps.

You are now ready to serve.  This should serve 8-10 people a good portion of soup.  Any left overs can be stored in the refrigerator for heating up another day.

I looked back at my slips to come up with a cost for the soup. I bargain shopped at Ocean State Job Lot to get the 48 ounce can of clam juice and the clams for not a lot of money. The entire recipe cost me around $12.63 to make feeding 8 people for $1.57 or 10 people for $1.26!

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