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Homemade New England Clam Chowder
Home Made Clam Chowder Recipe
If you live near the coast or are planning a vacation to the beach making a pot of home made clam chowder is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. This New England Chodwer recipe is for anyone looking to make a meal with love that will feed the whole family with some left over for later. Digging for clams is a fun activity that everyone in the family can participate in from young kids that may only get a few clams to adults that can dig up a limit in a few minutes in the right place and it is even better when you turn all of your hard work into a delicious bowl of New England Clam Chowder from scratch. In my opinion it is one of the best ways to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The following is a basic recipe guideline to follow to make an excellent home made chowder and provide a base that you can adjust from according to your own personal tastes and likes.
New England Clam Chowder
New England Clam Chowder Ingredients
- 20 - 40 Uncooked Clams, 1 - 2 limits of clams if you are digging them yourself
- 1 Small to Medium Onion, Chopped Finely
- 2 Sticks of Celery, Chopped Finely
- 2 -3 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped Finely
- 4 - 6 Slices of Bacon, Chopped
- 1/3 Stick of Butter
- 2 Cups Cream, Substitute half cream for milk to reduce fat content
- 6-8 Potatos, Rough Chop 1/4inch chuncks
- 6 Sprigs of Thyme, Whole (remove leaves before serving)
- 2 Bay Leaves, Whole (remove leaves before serving)
- 1 Bag of Oyster Crackers
Home Made Chowder Rating
Instructions for New England Clam Chowder
- Bring a pot of water to boil that will allow you to submerse all of the clams to cook, but not be too high as you will be using the residual clam juice and water for the chowder stock.
- Place the clams in the boiling water and remove as soon as the clams pop open and reveal the tasty meat inside. Remove the clams from the shells and set aside.
- Chop the clams or clean them and remove the guts and then chop them for the soup. Some people like everything, I prefer to clean each individual clam after cooking to remove the innards and any sand that may be present.
- After prepping the clams, strain the clam juice and water with a cheese cloth or simply get a piece of cloth like a handkerchief or sheet and cover a strainer and pour the hot water through the strainer and into a bowl. Set aside to be used shortly.
- In your main soup pot, place a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of the pan and toss in the bacon. Cook the bacon down and remove a majority of the fat, some people may choose to not remove any fat at all, however with the later additional of heavy cream I suggest removing some or all of the bacon fat.
- Add butter and then the chopped onions, celery, and garlic into the pot and begin to cook the veggies down. It is best to not have on too high of a heat as you do not want to the onions to turn color. Generally about 5 - 7 minutes will do.
- Add the Thyme and Bay leaves ... If you want a little stronger garlic flavor I have found you can add the garlic now instead of earlier. Let cook for another 3 minutes or so.
- Add the potatoes and stir everything together.
- Add the clam juice stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow the potatoes to cook for about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally
- Check the chowder and the softness of the potatoes. They should be firm yet mush when pressed against the wall of the pot. The soup stock and veggies should have begun to thicken some. If you desire a really thick chodwer mashing some of the potatoes will help achieve this. So will adding a spoon or two of flour, but is not required for most peoples taste. I pull the thyme sprigs and bay leaves out at this time as it just seems easier than after the clams and cream have been added.
- Take off the heat and stir in the chopped clams and the cream. Let stand and rest for 30 minutes or longer to allow time for the flavors to all mend together.
- Place back on the heat and reheat slowly before serving
- Dice up some green onions or chives for placing on the top as a garnish and open up a bag of oyster crackers. The crackers can also help thicken up a soup that seems to thin. Bread rolls is a good alternative to crackers to serve with the soup. Enjoy!
Additional Tips for this Chowder Recipe
As with any recipe make sure to taste and adjust to your liking by adding Salt, Pepper, or even a little spice with Cayenne Pepper or Tabasco sauce.
Depending on the number of clams you have and the people you are feeding adjust accordingly. The easiest method for increasing the size of the soup is to simply add more potatoes as it will make the recipe thicker and give you more to scoop into each bowl. Generally the more clams the better and if you stick to the basic guideline of around 1 cup of cream for every 3 cups of clam juice the recipe will have a nice consistency and flavor, thus my general rule of thumb when making a batch is to use 6 cups of the clam juice water with 2 cups of cream.
While you can purchase clams from the store and make an excellent pot of chowder it always taste just a little bit better if you take the time to go digging for clams at the beach near you. It is relatively simple and it makes enjoying a cup or bowl of home made New England Clam Chowder just that much better when it is the results of your labor. Take the kids and get your limit with a shovel or rack and come home and make an amazing beach dinner.