Every Christmas Eve as long as I can remember my mom would always make a big pot of Clam Chowder. No need to wait for a special holiday, this chowder is delicious any time of the year!
I found an old recipe from years ago that I use to make and compared it to my friend Rusty’s favorite recipe and also my mom’s recipe. What resulted was a tasty combination of the three! I prefer my chowder a bit more on the thinner side so if you’re one that likes a really thick chowder you can add a bit of flour to the onions and celery after they’ve softened. I omit that step and just use a potato masher to mash some of the potatoes to thicken it a bit which gives me the texture I like. I also use canned clams. To me, fresh clams just seems like it would be too much work, although I’m sure they would produce one really awesome clam chowder. To be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn’t even know how to make a chowder with fresh clams anyways.
I like to serve the clam chowder in small sourdough bread bowls like they do in San Fransicso. If you don’t have any bread bowls be sure to have some oyster crackers to sprinkle on top if you’d like.
- 2 lg. (10oz.) cans or 3 sm (6.5oz) cans clams, drained and reserve juice (if you like more clams, add another can)
- 1/2 lb. bacon or salt pork, diced
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 C. diced celery
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 Tbls. flour*
- 1 8oz. bottle clam juice + juice from the canned clams
- 1/2 C. white wine
- 3 lg. potatoes, peeled, diced
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp. celery seed
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 C. heavy cream
- 1 Tbls. butter
- Saute bacon or salt pork in dutch oven until browned.
- Add onions and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook another minute or two.
- *If you want a thicker chowder, add flour and cook another minute to combine. Gradually stir in clam juice and wine and cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. If you prefer a thinner chowder, you can skip the flour. Mashing the potatoes a bit once they’re cooked will thicken the chowder some.
- Add thyme, bay leaves, celery seed, salt, pepper and diced potatoes. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Add clams, cream and butter, heat through. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. I even like to add smoked paprika, but that’s totally optional.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped chives and thyme, if desired.
*Since I don’t add any flour, after the onions and celery are cooked, I take a potato masher and mash the potatoes a bit to break them down.