clam chowder

Join Culinate

With a free Culinate membership, you can:

  • Create your own recipe collections
  • Queue recipes for later use
  • Blog your culinary endeavors
  • Be part of our online community of cooks
  • And much more…
Join Now

Clam Chowder

From the book The Cape Cod Table by
Serves 8


Here on Cape Cod there are as many recipes for clam chowder as there are clams in the sea. This one takes the very best elements of several dozen versions and puts them together to make a creamy, rich meal in a bowl that even New Yorkers will have to admit beats anything with tomatoes.

Although you can certainly start by digging and shucking your own clams, most fish stores and many supermarkets sell shucked, chopped clams — my preference. While some recipes call for thickening clam chowder with flour, I don’t like the library-paste texture that can result (actually, I don’t like to use thickener at all), so those of you who are used to the thick consistency of many commercial varieties will find this soup on the thin side. If you wish to thicken it up, see the instructions at the end of the recipe.


3 oz. salt pork or thick slab bacon, diced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped into medium dice
3 stalks celery (with leaves), rinsed and cut into small dice
3 cups Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
4 cups bottled clam juice
pt. (3 cups) chopped fresh clams, drained, liquid reserved
2 cups whole milk
4 cups light cream
~ Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into slices, for garnish
~ Paprika for garnish


  1. Place the salt pork or bacon in a heavy skillet and set over moderate heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is brown and crisp, then use a slotted spoon to remove it to a paper towel to drain.
  2. Add the onion and celery to the drippings and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until they are wilted and the onion is golden.
  3. Use the slotted spoon to add the cooked salt pork or bacon and vegetables to a soup kettle. Discard the fat in the sauté pan and scrape any of the brown drippings that remain into the soup kettle. Add the potatoes and clam juice (both the bottled juice and the liquid reserved from the fresh clams).
  4. Set the kettle over high heat, cover, and bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  5. Stir in the milk and cream and heat, uncovered, without allowing the mixture to boil. When the mixture is hot, add the clams and cook for another 5 minutes without boiling. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve immediately, ladling the chowder into heated bowls and garnishing each with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of paprika.


For a thicker chowder, add 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour to the pan after you have cooked and removed the salt pork and drained off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Whisk continuously over moderate heat until the mixture is smooth. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add this slurry to the chowder after the potatoes have been cooked, and stir well to combine. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the chowder is slightly thickened before adding the remaining ingredients.

This content is from the book The Cape Cod Table by Lora Brody.

There are no comments on this item
Add a comment

Think before you type

Culinate welcomes comments that are on-topic, clean, and courteous. For the benefit of the community we reserve the right to delete comments that contain advertising, personal attacks, profanity, or which are thinly disguised attempts to promote another website.

Please enter your comment

Format: Bare URLs are automatically linked; use this style: [ "place text to be linked here"] for prettier links. You may specify *bold* or _italic_ text. No HTML please.

Please identify yourself

Not a member? Sign up!

Please prove that you’re not a computer

Our Table

The Joy of Cooking app

A new tool for the kitchen

The latest in our collection of cooking apps.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice