New England Clam Chowder


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There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder to warm you up on a chilly day. This classic American soup has been delighting taste buds for generations, with its creamy texture, tender clams, and comforting blend of flavors. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a culinary journey to explore the origins of New England clam chowder, the key ingredients that make it special, and a step-by-step recipe to recreate this beloved dish in your own kitchen. So, grab your apron and get ready to savor the taste of the sea with our heartwarming New England clam chowder!

New England Clam Chowder is a beloved and iconic American soup that hails from the northeastern United States, particularly the coastal region of New England. Its origins date back to the early days of American colonization when seafood, particularly clams, was abundant in the area. The first known written recipe for clam chowder appeared in the 1830s, though variations of the dish had been prepared for centuries.

The key ingredients of this chowder are fresh clams, potatoes, onions, salt pork, or bacon, all cooked in a creamy and rich broth. It was a staple among fishermen and settlers who relied on the ocean’s resources for sustenance. Over time, New England Clam Chowder gained popularity and became a classic comfort food, cherished for its hearty and satisfying flavors.

Today, it’s served in restaurants, homes, and seafood shacks throughout New England and beyond. While there are regional differences in its preparation, the creamy, briny, and comforting qualities of New England Clam Chowder remain consistent, making it a timeless favorite.

New England Clam Chowder

New England clam chowder is a traditional soup that hails from the northeastern region of the United States, known for its abundant seafood and rich culinary heritage. The star of this dish is, of course, the clams, which lend their briny and delicate flavor to the creamy broth. Paired with tender potatoes, aromatic onions, and smoky bacon, every spoonful of New England clam chowder is a burst of comforting goodness.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 40 mins Rest Time 5 mins Total Time 1 hr 5 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 6 Calories: 416.96 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Step-by-Step Instructions

Cook the Bacon:

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until it becomes crispy and releases its fat.

  2. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess fat.

Sauté the Aromatics:

  1. In the same pot with the bacon fat, add the diced onion and sauté until it becomes soft and translucent.

Add Garlic and Flour:

  1. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

  2. Add the butter to the pot and allow it to melt.

  3. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic, and stir well to form a roux.

Prepare the Broth:

  1. Slowly pour in the clam juice or fish stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

  2. Add the bay leaf and dried thyme to the pot.

Simmer the Chowder:

  1. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the diced potatoes.

  2. Cook until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.

Incorporate Milk and Cream:

  1. Stir in the whole milk and heavy cream, and bring the chowder back to a gentle simmer.

Thicken the Chowder:

  1. In a small bowl, mix a few tablespoons of the hot liquid from the chowder with the reserved clam liquid to temper it.

  2. Slowly pour the tempered liquid back into the chowder, stirring constantly.

  3. Continue to simmer until the chowder thickens to your desired consistency.

Add Clams and Bacon:

  1. Add the chopped clams and crispy bacon back into the pot.

  2. Season the chowder with salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve and Garnish:

  1. Ladle the New England clam chowder into serving bowls.

  2. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 416.96kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30.83g48%
Saturated Fat 16.35g82%
Trans Fat 0.53g
Cholesterol 87.43mg30%
Sodium 597.99mg25%
Potassium 701.31mg21%
Total Carbohydrate 24.5g9%
Dietary Fiber 2.19g9%
Sugars 6.92g
Protein 11.55g24%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • Fresh Clams vs. Canned Clams: While fresh clams offer the best flavor, canned clams are a convenient option that saves time. If using canned clams, be sure to drain them and reserve the liquid for later use.
  • Potatoes: Yukon gold or russet potatoes work well in this recipe, providing a creamy texture and mild flavor. You can peel the potatoes before dicing, or leave the skin on for added nutrients and texture.
  • Creaminess: For an even creamier chowder, you can substitute half-and-half or whole cream for the whole milk. However, this will increase the calorie content.
  • Flavor Enhancements: Enhance the flavor of your chowder by adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or a pinch of Old Bay seasoning.
  • Make It Gluten-Free: To make the chowder gluten-free, replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend or cornstarch.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Serve New England clam chowder with oyster crackers, croutons, or crusty bread for dipping.
  • Pair it with a fresh green salad or a side of steamed vegetables to complete the meal.
Allergen Information:
  • Shellfish: This recipe contains clams, a type of shellfish. Ensure that no one consuming the chowder has a shellfish allergy, and consider offering an alternative soup option if needed.

  • Dairy: New England Clam Chowder often includes milk or cream, so individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies should use dairy-free alternatives.

  • Gluten: Some recipes may use flour as a thickening agent. For those with gluten allergies or sensitivities, use a gluten-free flour or alternative thickener.

Wine or Drink Pairing:
  • White Wine: A crisp and dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, pairs wonderfully with New England Clam Chowder. The acidity and fruity notes of these wines complement the creamy soup.

  • Beer: A light lager or a pale ale can be a great choice, especially if you prefer beer. The effervescence and mild bitterness of beer contrast nicely with the richness of the chowder.

Storage and Leftovers:
  • Refrigeration: Leftover clam chowder should be cooled to room temperature and then refrigerated within two hours of cooking. Store it in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.

  • Freezing: While it's possible to freeze clam chowder, the texture of dairy-based soups can change upon thawing. To freeze, cool the soup completely, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and leave some room for expansion. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

  • Thawing and Reheating: When ready to enjoy frozen chowder, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat it gently on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent curdling.

Keywords: New England clam chowder, clam chowder, seafood soup, creamy chowder, comfort food, American cuisine.

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