Best Clam Chowder Recipe From Grandma's Kitchen And A Bonus! Linguine With Clams!
Not Everyone Has Access To Fresh Clams
My best clam chowder recipe has taken years to perfect! The love of clam chowder came when I was little, so it has been alot of years in between the two. Clam chowder from this grandma's kitchen can be shared because I am so proud of it! While I was making this, I also learned to make great linguine with clams. I was born on the east coast, so my Italian family had access to the best fresh clams in the world! That is what I was weaned on! So, when my family had the nerve to move me to southern Californnia at 8 years old, I soon discovered there would be no clam bakes or lobster boils in my future. Sure, different restaurants would advertise and try to convince me that they were just as good, but even at a young age, I knew they were lying! Either that, or they just didn't know how to cook!
When I had my own family, I started using canned clams out of necessity. I could never duplicate that taste that I loved, but my kids never knew the difference. They loved my clam chowder and they loved Progresso White Clam Sauce for linguine! 3 cans of Progresso White Clam Sauce and a pound of linguine and they were thrilled! The two were on their top 10 list growing up. One night, I knew I would not have time to make dinner the next night, so after dishes were done, I made a big pot of clam chowder and put it in the fridge. The next evening, I got the pot out, put it on the stove and took the lid off. There was one serving left! The three brats(that really is a term of endearment) had eaten the entire pot of clam chowder after I went to bed the night before. Of course, they were nowhere to be found. They disappeared and when they finally came out from their hiding places, they claimed we had mice! They also ended up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that night.
So first, I will give you my clam chowder recipe and then I will give you my linguine with clams recipe. The Progresso White Clam Sauce has gone up to $4.00 a can in my neck of the woods, so I make my own now. It's pretty good!
50 Years To Make It Great!
- 4 10 ounce cans of Chicken of the Sea Whole Baby Clams (they are absolutely the best I have found and have no sand in the juice they are packed in, so don't throw out the juice)
- 1 quart or box of chicken broth (I use the cheapest organic that I can find with no additives or preservatives)
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
- juice and zest of one lemon(if the lemon is not juicy, use 2)
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 5 green onions, chopped
- celery stalks, finely chopped (I use the inside or heart of the celery and chop all the leaves, too) There may be 6-8 small stalks, but they are thin and tender
- 3 carrots, shredded in the food processor or very finely chopped
- 6-8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into one inch squares(some of these will cook away and add to the thickness of the chowder-if you peel them at the beginning of this process, put them into a pot of cold water to keep them from turning brown)
- 1 to 1 1/2 quarts of whole milk or a mixture of whole milk and half and half(bring to room temperature)
- salt to taste (the amount will depend on whether your chicken broth is salted or low sodium. I use low sodium, so I add about 1 teaspoon of salt)
- 3 Tablespoons of flour mixed in with 1 cup of the milk. Make sure all of the lumps are gone. (I mix the flour and milk at the beginning, so that by the time I am ready to add it to the soup, the lumps are definitely gone)
- Ground black pepper, to taste (I add about 1/2 teaspoon, then more at the table)
Assemble all of your ingredients. Have your celery, carrots, onions and garlic ready to go at the very beginning. Add the olive oil to a large stockpot. I use an 8 quart stainless steel pot. Heat the oil and then add the onions, red pepper flakes, garlic and onions. Saute these over a medium heat. When the onions are tender, add the carrots and continue to saute. Allow these flavors to cook together for about 5 minutes and then add the 4 cans of clams and their juice. Yes, this chowder is overloaded with clams! Add the lemon zest and juice. Continue to cook this over a medium heat, as you are stirring all of the ingredients together. If you are using a low sodium broth, add the salt now. If not, wait until later.
If you have not chopped and peeled the potatoes, now is the time to do it. Add the potatoes to the pot and then add the chicken broth. The chicken broth should cover the potatoes. If not, add more broth or just enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Bring this to a gentle boil and allow to gently boil until the potatoes are tender, usually about 30 minutes. All of the other vegetables should be fully cooked by this time, too. You will want to take care that this boils, but that it is not boiling so rapidly, that your liquid evaporates. Remove the pot from the heat. The next step is to add the milk, but temper it first. You temper liquids by stirring (I use a whisk) a small amount of the hot into the cold. You want to bring the temperature of the milk or cream up gradually so that the milk or cream does not curdle when you add it to the boiling liquid. Once the milk has been tempered, stir it into the soup pot. When that is all mixed, whisk in your flour mixture.
The idea when adding the milk or the cream is to first note the level of the broth and add enough milk or cream to just double the amount of liquid that you are dealing with. You want it to be half broth and half milk or cream. Hope that makes sense.
Return the pot to a medium high heat. Stir or whisk until the soup boils again, making sure that you stir from the bottom of the pot. The stirring will ensure that the soup does not burn and the flour will thicken the soup evenly. When the soup comes to a boil, allow it to boil for about 3 minutes. The flour needs time to cook and this will make sure that your soup does not taste like flour. Some people prefer to use corn starch to thicken chowders.
I guess it is just whatever you are used to. I have used both and like flour better. If you have used chicken broth that contains salt, now is when you should taste the soup to see how much, if any salt is needed. Remove from the heat and enjoy! This will make enough for several mice or kids even! For a hearty dinner, serve topped with a little bit of crispy bacon and some frshly ground black pepper. I serve this chowder with crusty french bread and butter. The kids seem to like it with simple grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.
This will serve 6-8 people. Leftovers should not be frozen. Just refrigerate and when you are ready for a bowl of leftover chowder, ladle it into a small pot and heat it over a low heat.
Linguine with Clams, The Bonus!
This is so easy, I almost hesitate to call it a recipe.
- 3 10 ounce cans of Chicken of the Sea Whole Baby Clams, with the juice
- 5 - 6 cloves of garlic, chopped into quarters if you are going to remove the garlic, or finely chopped if you are going to leave the garlic in the sauce
- 1/4 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- juice of one lemon
- 1 - 2 cups of pasta water
- a couple of Tablespoons of chopped flat-leafed or Italian parsley
- 1 pound of linguine or fettucine (I recommend Barilla pasta)
Start your pasta pot. This recipe only takes as long as it takes to cook your pasta. In a fairly large saute pan, heat the olive oil, garlic, butter and red pepper flakes under a low heat. Stir this occasionally. Your purpose is to infuse the oil and butter with the taste of garlic and red pepper flakes, without burning the garlic. When the garlic is tender, remove it from the pan. If you prefer, you can dice the garlic prior to cooking and leave it in. After the oil and butter have been infused, add the clams and clam juice. Stir in the lemon juice and add the salt. Heat til simmering. When this has simmered together about 5 minutes, it is ready. Remove from the heat. When the pasta pot is boiling, add a generous amount of salt and drop your pasta. Cook the pasta as directed on the package. When the pasta is ready, scoop out about 2 cups of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pasta pot. Add the clam sauce to the pasta and stir with some heavy duty tongs to coat all of the pasta. At this point, you may want more of a sauce, so you can add some of the pasta water and mix it in well. You will not need the entire 2 cups and you may decide to add none of the pasta water. The sauce that you have made is enough to coat one pound of pasta, with plenty of clams and flavor. Put the linguine and clams into a large pasta bowl and sprinkle it with fresh parsley. It adds that restaurant look and fresh feel to the dish!
This will serve 6 normal people or 4 hungry Italians. I like to serve this with garlic toast and a green salad, but to tell you the truth, no one ever eats the salad!
So Many Clams!
You may think that these recipes call for alot of clams. That is quite true, because I love clams and the whole baby clams in the Chicken of the Sea cans are beautiful! They are not bits and pieces, they are whole clams. With each recipe, you could reasonably use one less can of clams and have a great result, but I have given you the recipes exactly the way I like them. Over the years, I have used several different types of canned clams, but when I found the Chicken of the Sea brand and tried it, I loved the flavor! I won't use anything else! I think the secret of the chowder's success is the use of the chicken broth in a box. Years ago, I tried to develop the flavors using water and clam juice. It just didn't work. The chowder was good, but not great! A few weeks ago, I made clam chowder and my son said, "This is the best clam chowder you've ever made."
I hope you enjoy the chowder and that it becomes one of your favorites. As for the pasta, who doesn't love linguine with clams?
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