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Nourishing New England Clam Chowder Recipe (Your Go-To Recipe)

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Immerse yourself in the creamy bliss of our Coastal Haven New England Clam Chowder Recipe! Dive into a luscious sea of tender clams, perfectly diced potatoes, and crispy bacon bits, all swathed in a rich, velvety broth. Each spoonful is a wave of comfort, with a dash of thyme adding a whisper of herbal magic. The chowder, hearty and soul-soothing, promises a culinary journey to the shores of New England with every delightful bite. A timeless classic, reimagined for ultimate satisfaction!

Get ready to be swept away on a culinary journey with this irresistible New England Clam Chowder recipe! Imagine your taste buds diving into a symphony of flavors, as this creamy and hearty soup captivates your senses.

But what exactly is it that sets the New England Clam Chowder apart? It’s an iconic, creamy white soup, featuring fresh clams, potatoes, onions, and bacon, with a taste that evokes the very essence of the New England coast. 

This recipe has a rich heritage, tracing back to the region’s early settlers. Its popularity has spanned centuries, making it a beloved comfort food in American cuisine.

Now, you don’t have to travel all the way to the East Coast to experience this culinary delight! We’ve crafted the perfect guide to creating your own authentic New England Clam Chowder right at home.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a cooking novice, this recipe will guide you step by step, unveiling the secrets of this traditional masterpiece.

New England Clam Chowder Recipe Unlocking The Secrets  And Deliciousness

What Is New England Clam Chowder Recipe?

New England Clam Chowder, also known as Boston Clam Chowder, is a traditional, hearty soup known for its creamy base and rich seafood flavor. Originating from the northeastern United States, specifically the New England region, it has become a staple of American cuisine.

The core ingredients of New England Clam Chowder are clams, potatoes, onions, and often bacon or salt pork; all simmered together in a creamy broth.

The soup is commonly thickened with a roux (a mixture of fat and flour) and milk or cream, resulting in its characteristic thick, creamy consistency. 

The clams used can be fresh, canned, or frozen, but traditionally, quahogs, a type of hard-shell clams native to the East Coast, are used.

This chowder is traditionally served with oyster crackers on top, adding a crunchy texture that contrasts with the creamy soup.

Over time, the recipe has seen many variations, but the creamy broth and hearty ingredients have remained constant, making it a comforting, filling dish, particularly popular during cold weather.

New England Clam Chowder is special for several reasons

Can You Vary The Soup With Other Ingredients?

The New England Clam Chowder recipe is quite versatile and can be modified to accommodate various dietary preferences or restrictions. Here are some suggestions:

  • Keto

To make this soup keto-friendly, you can reduce the amount of onion and replace the flour with a low-carb thickening agent like xanthan gum. Also, replace the potatoes with a lower-carb vegetable such as cauliflower.

  • Paleo

For a Paleo version, you can substitute the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk and use arrowroot powder or tapioca starch instead of all-purpose flour. Also, be sure to use a Paleo-friendly cooking fat like ghee instead of butter.

  • Gluten-Free

Make the chowder gluten-free using a gluten-free flour blend or cornstarch as a thickener instead of regular flour. Ensure that any broth or canned clams used are also certified gluten-free.

  • Whole30

To make this recipe Whole30-compliant, replace the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk, use ghee instead of butter, and omit the flour entirely or replace it with arrowroot powder.

  • Dairy-Free

For a dairy-free version of the soup, you can replace the butter with a dairy-free alternative like olive oil, and replace the heavy cream with non-dairy milk like coconut or almond milk. Make sure to choose an unsweetened and unflavored variety.

  • Vegetarian

To make a vegetarian version, you could substitute the clams with a mix of mushrooms and other vegetables to give a similar texture. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

The Soup With Other Ingredients

Recipe Directions

  • Prepare The Clams : Begin by thoroughly cleaning the clams to remove any grit or sand. Place the cleaned clams in a large pot, along with the chopped garlic and water. Cover the pot and steam the clams over medium heat just until they open, which should take about 6 to 10 minutes depending on their size. Once done, drain the clams, reserving the broth. Remove the clam meat from the shells, mince it, and set it aside. Filter the reserved clam broth through coffee filters or cheesecloth to remove any leftover grit or sand, and set it aside.
  • Render The Salt Pork : In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, slowly cook the salt pork over low heat. Continue cooking until the fat has rendered out and the salt pork pieces (cracklings) have turned crispy. Remove the cracklings with a slotted spoon and set them aside, leaving the fat in the pot.
  • Add Flour And Broths : Stir in the flour into the pot with the onions, cooking and stirring for another 3 minutes. This will create a roux that will help thicken the chowder. Slowly add the reserved clam broth and the fish stock to the pot, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming.
  • Add Clams, Cracklings, And Cream : Stir in the reserved minced clams and salt pork cracklings. Pour in the light cream and stir until well combined. Continue heating the chowder over low heat until it reaches your preferred serving temperature.
  • Cook The Potatoes : Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the diced potatoes. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, which should take about 15 minutes.
  • Serve The Chowder : Ladle the finished chowder into large soup bowls, serving with a side of oyster crackers, if desired. Enjoy your homemade New England Clam Chowder!
Soup Considered Good

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

Variations

  • Corn Chowder: Substitute half the clams with fresh or frozen corn kernels for a summery take on the classic recipe.
  • Manhattan Clam Chowder: This is a tomato-based version with a lighter broth that’s tangy and full of veggies.
  • Seafood Chowder: Use a mix of seafood like fish, shrimp, scallops, or mussels in place of or in addition to the clams.

Add-Ons

  • Bacon: While traditional recipes use salt pork, adding crispy bacon to the chowder or using it as a garnish adds a nice smoky flavor.
  • Vegetables: Add other vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or corn for added texture and flavor.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley, chives, or dill can be added for extra flavor.

Toppings

  • Croutons: Instead of the traditional oyster crackers, try homemade croutons for added crunch.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of sharp cheddar or smoky gouda can contrast the creamy chowder.
  • Fresh Herbs: Sprinkling freshly chopped herbs like parsley or chives adds color and a fresh flavor contrast.
  • Sour Cream or Crème Fraîche: A dollop on top can add a tangy flavor and creamy texture.
  • Hot Sauce: For those who like a bit of heat, a drizzle of hot sauce can be a great addition.
New England Clam Chowder Recipe

Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot? 

Slow Cooker Method

  • In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, sauté onions and celery until they soften.
  • Transfer the cooked bacon, onions, celery, potatoes, clams (with juice), chicken broth, thyme, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours; until the potatoes are tender.
  • Melt butter and whisk in flour in a separate saucepan to create a roux. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Stir the roux mixture into the slow cooker and add the heavy cream. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on low until the soup thickens.
  • Adjust the seasoning if needed and serve hot.

Instant Pot Method

  • Set the Instant Pot to the sauté function. Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • Sauté onions and celery in the bacon grease until softened.
  • Add potatoes, clams (with juice), chicken broth, thyme, salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot.
  • Close the lid, set the vent to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Once the cooking time is complete, allow for a natural pressure release for about 5 minutes, then carefully quickly release the remaining pressure.
  • Melt butter and whisk flour in a separate saucepan to create a roux. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Set the Instant Pot to the sauté function again and stir in the roux mixture and heavy cream. Cook for a few minutes until the soup thickens.
  • Adjust the seasoning if needed and serve hot.
Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables etc For The Soup

Can I Use Store Bought Broth Or Should I Make My Own?

You can use store-bought broth as a convenient option for making New England clam chowder. While making your own broth from scratch can provide a more flavorful and customized base for the soup; using store-bought broth can still yield delicious results.

If using store-bought broth, opt for a high-quality brand and select a type of broth that complements the flavors of the clam chowder, such as chicken or vegetable broth.

Be mindful of the sodium content in the store-bought broth, and adjust the seasoning accordingly to avoid oversalting the chowder.

If you decide to make your own broth, it can add an extra layer of depth to the flavors of the chowder.

You can make a homemade broth by simmering chicken bones or a combination of chicken and vegetable scraps with water, herbs, and aromatics for a few hours.

Ultimately, the choice between store-bought broth and homemade broth depends on your preference, time constraints, and availability of ingredients. Both options can yield a satisfying bowl of New England clam chowder.

Success Tips - Tips And Tricks For Making Soup

How To Serve ? 

  • Pre-Warm The Bowls: Warm your soup bowls before serving. You can do this by filling them with hot water and emptying them just before serving. This keeps the soup warmer for longer.
  • Consider Portions: Don’t fill the bowl to the brim. Serving smaller portions not only looks more appealing; but also prevents spills and makes the soup easier to eat.
  • Garnishing: Enhance the visual appeal of your soup with a simple garnish. A sprig of fresh herbs like parsley, a dollop of cream, some shredded cheese, croutons, or a sprinkle of spices can make your soup look restaurant quality.
  • Accompaniments: Depending on the soup, consider what to serve alongside it. Crusty bread, a side salad, or a grilled sandwich can complement soup beautifully.
  • Ladle It: Use a ladle to serve your soup. It’s not only practical but also prevents spills and splashes.
  • Serve Immediately: Soup is best served hot, straight from the stove. If you’re serving for a dinner party, ensure your guests are seated and ready before serving the soup.
  • Serving Utensils: Provide the right utensils. A soup spoon and a small plate for the soup bowl to rest on can make the meal feel more considered and formal.

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Crusty Bread: A loaf of fresh, warm bread is always a good companion for soup. You can use it to soak up the broth or enjoy its comforting taste alongside.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: This is a classic soup side dish, especially for tomato or vegetable-based soups. The warm, melted cheese and toasted bread contrast with a smooth, creamy soup bowl.
  • Salad: A light, crisp salad can provide a refreshing contrast to a hot, hearty soup. A simple green salad, Caesar salad, or even a tangy coleslaw could work.
  • Roasted Vegetables: These provide a different texture and a flavor that compliments many types of soup, particularly cream-based ones like spinach soup.
  • Crackers or Breadsticks: These offer a crunchy texture that can be a pleasant contrast to the smooth consistency of soup.
  • Quiche or Savory Tart: A small slice can add a rich, savory element to your meal, balancing a light, brothy soup.
  • Rice or Grain Pilaf: For soups with a thin consistency, a side of rice or grain pilaf can add substance to the meal, making it more filling.
New England Clam Chowder Soup

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Clam Preparation: Scrub clams under cold running water to remove any grit. Discard any clams that are cracked or open and do not close when tapped. Refrigerate cleaned clams until ready to use.
  • Make-Ahead Tip: You can prepare the base of the chowder (cooked bacon, onions, celery, and potatoes) up to 2 days in advance. Allow it to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating.
  • Freezing Option: If you’re making a large batch, New England Clam Chowder freezes well. Once cooled, transfer the chowder to freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating Instructions: When ready to serve, gently reheat the chowder on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add additional liquid (such as clam juice or broth) if needed to reach desired consistency.
New England Clam Chowder Soup

What Can Be Done With Leftover Soup?

  • Reheat and Eat: This is the simplest way to utilize leftover soup. Just reheat it in a saucepan or in the microwave. Remember to stir frequently to ensure even heating.
  • Turn it into a Sauce: Reduce your leftover soup on the stove to thicken it, and use it as a creamy sauce over pasta, rice, or grilled chicken. Clam chowder, in particular, can make a fantastic seafood sauce.
  • Create a Casserole: Combine your leftover soup with some cooked pasta, vegetables, or protein, top with cheese, and bake in the oven for a quick and easy casserole.
  • Make a Pie: Consider using your thick soup as a filling for a savory pie or pastry. Just pour your soup into a pie crust, top with another crust or mashed potatoes, and bake until golden brown.
  • Use as a Base for Another Soup: Leftover soup can be the perfect base for another soup. Add some more broth or water, throw in different vegetables or proteins, and you have a brand new dish.

TIPS

  • Freshness is Key: Start with the freshest ingredients for optimal flavor.
  • Proper Storage: Store perishables like dairy and meats in the coldest part of the fridge.
  • Organize Your Pantry: Keep frequently used items at eye level for easy access.
  • Meal Prep: Spend time prepping ingredients in advance for quicker cooking during the week.
  • Label Everything: Use labels or masking tape to mark containers with dates and contents.
  • Utilize Freezer Space: Freeze leftovers in portion-sized containers for future meals.
  • Keep it Clean: Regularly wipe down shelves and surfaces to prevent cross-contamination.
Nourishing New England Clam Chowder Recipe (Your Go-To Recipe)

Nourishing New England Clam Chowder Recipe (Your Go-To Recipe)

5 from 8 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Chowder
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes
Calories

400-450

kcal

New England Clam Chowder is a creamy and hearty American soup made with fresh clams, potatoes, onions, bacon, cream, and seasonings. With its rich and savory flavor, it is a popular dish enjoyed in seafood restaurants. Served in a bread bowl or alongside oyster crackers, this comforting soup is a classic and satisfying meal option.

Ingredients

  • 128 fl.ounce 128 Littleneck Clams

  • 1 1 Garlic Clove (Chopped)

  • 1 Cup 1 Water

  • 2 Oz 2 Salt Pork (Finely Chopped)

  • 2 Cups 2 Chopped Onions

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Flour

  • 1-1/2 lbs 1-1/2 Potatoes (Peeled, And Diced Into 1/2-Inch Cubes)

  • 4-1/2 Cups 4-1/2 Clam Broth

  • 3 Cups 3 Fish Stock

  • 2 Cups 2 Light Cream

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Prepare The Clams
    Begin by thoroughly cleaning the clams to remove any grit or sand. Place the cleaned clams in a large pot, along with the chopped garlic and water. Cover the pot and steam the clams over medium heat just until they open, which should take about 6 to 10 minutes, depending on their size.Once done, drain the clams, reserving the broth. Remove the clam meat from the shells, mince it, and set it aside. Filter the reserved clam broth through coffee filters or cheesecloth to remove any leftover grit or sand, and set it aside.

  • Render The Salt Pork
    Slowly cook the salt pork in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat. Continue cooking until the fat decreases and the salt pork pieces (cracklings) become crispy. Remove the cracklings with a slotted spoon and set them aside, leaving the fat in the pot.
  • Cook The Onions
    Slowly cook the chopped onions in the same pot with the rendered fat over medium heat. Stir frequently and cook for about 6 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not browned.
  • Add Flour And Broths
    Stir the flour into the pot with the onions, cooking and stirring for another 3 minutes. This will create a roux that will help thicken the chowder. Slowly add the reserved clam broth and the fish stock to the pot, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming.
  • Cook The Potatoes
    Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the diced potatoes. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, which should take about 15 minutes.
  • Add Clams, Cracklings, And Cream
    Stir in the reserved minced clams and salt pork cracklings. Pour in the light cream and stir until well combined. Continue heating the chowder over low heat until it reaches your preferred serving temperature.
  • Serve The Chowder
    If desired, ladle the finished chowder into large soup bowls, serving with a side of oyster crackers. Enjoy your homemade New England Clam Chowder!
  • EQUIPMENT LIST
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Ladle
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Peeler
  • Immersion Blender
  • Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Notes

  • New England Clam Chowder is a classic American soup that originated in the New England region.
  • It is made with fresh clams, potatoes, onions, bacon, cream, and seasonings.
  • The soup has a creamy and hearty texture with a rich, savory flavor.
  • New England Clam Chowder is often served in a bread bowl or alongside oyster crackers.
  • It is a popular dish in seafood restaurants and is enjoyed as a comforting and satisfying meal.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Table

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