New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Details

This thick and creamy chowder is made with diced onions, potatoes, celery, carrots, bacon and, of course, clams.
  • Serves: 6 to 8
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Views: 24,701
  • Success: 73%

Steps

Step 1: Preparing Your Mise en Place

• 6 pieces bacon
• 2 ribs celery
• 1 carrot (can substitute with 3/4 cup corn kernels, if preferred)
• 1 medium onion
• 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes (approx. 1 lb)

Method

To prepare your mise en place, first cut the bacon into lardons. Peel and dice the onion, celery and carrots into about 1/4" -inch pieces. For the potatoes, peel and dice into approximately 1/2" -inch cubes. Cover the potatoes with cold water. Set everything aside.

Next, heat a small fry pan over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook it until it begins to crisp up. Once done, drain the bacon onto a paper towel, reserving the excess bacon fat.

Note: You can cook the bacon in the same pot that you make the soup; however, it tends to discolor the white color of the final chowder and does not look as attractive. Depends how picky you want to be!

Step 2: Making the Soup

• sea salt, to taste
• 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 2 cups unsalted, clam nectar
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 tbsp reserved bacon fat
• 2 cups homogenized milk
• 1 cup baby clams

Method

To start the soup, heat a suitable-sized pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon fat, followed by the onions and celery. Add a good pinch of salt and let sweat for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the onions become somewhat translucent. Next, add the carrots and cook for another minute or two.

Next, singer with the flour. Stir and let cook for a couple of minutes. Temper in the cold clam nectar. Temper in the cold milk and then bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring frequently. Once the liquid comes to a gentle simmer add the diced potatoes and bay leaves. Bring back up to a simmer and let cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked through.

Next, add the clams and cook for another few minutes just to heat the clams through. Taste for seasoning, adding a bit more salt and/or freshly cracked pepper, if desired.

To serve the soup, you can either add the bacon directly to the pot and then serve or you can garnish each bowl with some of the bacons bits.

*Note: For the clams, you need about one cup. We like to use baby clams; however you can also use bigger clams and just chop them up a bit. Canned or freshly-cooked clams can be used for this recipe.

22 Comments

  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    I've been making a New England Style Clam Chowder for years, but nothing as smooth and silky as this one. It is amazing what a difference a few fundamental skills can make to the end result. Knowing what the mirepoix should look like, adding the ingredients in the proper order, tempering the milk, recognizing and adjusting to the proper thickness. Amazing. Thank you so much for making meal preparation so much fun, and so delicious!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Leigh, the credit goes to you for practicing what you have learned. Watching and listening to the videos will only take ones learning so far, it's the practice and repetition that takes things to a whole new level of learning. The more one practices the more those skills and that knowledge becomes a part of you...forever. Good job!
  • Ryan N
    Ryan N
    I used the juice from two cans of clams as well as a jar of clam juice and it turned out great. Thanks for another great recipe!
  • Dawn L
    Dawn L
    I have never made a good soup. Ever. I had some left over potatoes and some steamed salmon and mussels. I carefully watched the video's accompanying this recipe and for once in my life I felt like I have super powers: knowledge is a powerful thing. I recommend this as a great 'leftover' soup. Family over for dinner tonight called it a gourmet meal. A great big thank you to you all!
  • Bryan L
    Bryan L
    Step 2, paragraph 2. "Next, singer with the flour." I don't personally know any singers; my wife can hum pretty good, but I'm not so sure she would enjoy me throwing her in a pot. What's a "singer"? Honey, roux complete me! ;o)
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Nice one Bryan. Here is a text drill-down called "What is Singer?" that should shed some light on the situation for you :-) This is also covered a bit in the full lesson on "How to Make Roux-Based Soups", which is where this recipe come from. It's one of the practice recipes. Cheers!
  • Bryan L
    Bryan L
    Haha. I thought for sure that was a typo! Well now, I learned something new from Rouxbe AGAIN! I may even be inclined to hum a little tune now every time I make a roux. Thank you Dawn for your, once again, timely and engaging response. Wake up clams, you're about to become chowder!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You are most welcome Bryan. Happy to help out! Now I will think of you humming away every time I make a chowder or "singer" :-)
  • Philip I
    Philip I
    Mahalo nui loa goes to Rouxbe. I felt like New England Clam Chowder this morning and proceeded to prepare my mise en place without hesitation or the need to refer to the recipe. I even did the singer with the flour...it just flowed so naturally, just like you promised when you practice. I used the clam juice from two cans of chopped clams and 8oz. bottle of clam nectar, some 2% milk and heavy cream. The Chowder was a hit with my son and granddaughter...and I'm planning on another bowl for myself very shortly. Rouxbe's videos have helped me improve my cooking so much! Thanks much and Happy Holidays.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Happy we could help Philip, but really you did all of the work :-) So glad that you are enjoying the fruits of your labor. Cheers and happy holidays to you as well!
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    Philip brings up a good point. I usually drain and discard the brine from the cans of baby clams before adding the clams to the chowder. I've never had the nerve to taste the liquid :0) as I have always assumed (perhaps erroneously) that the clam juice in the cans is little more than salt water. Should I be adding it to my chowder?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Oh yes, the liquid from the can is salty and briny, but also full of flavor. Taste a bit of it next time and add it to your liking for a more oceanic experience. Like any food product, brand quality can vary- so go with your palate. Enjoy!
  • Bryan L
    Bryan L
    I wouldn't (generally) attempt to freeze milk base soups/sauces, but I have a ton of clams left over and would like to utilize in multiple ways. Ya think I could get away with freezing this chowder without excessive degradation?
  • Christina A
    Christina A
    Bryan, I believe you would lose the wonderful consistency and texture by freezing the New England clam chowder due to the milk in the recipe. It would be best not to freeze it. However, with that said, feel free to try it out for yourself to see if you notice a difference. Hope that helps. Cheers!
  • Bryan L
    Bryan L
    Thanks for the feedback Christina; I agree. However, it only lasted in the fridge until the next day and was gobbled up (to my surprise). Thought I was gonna have a bunch left over, but seconds both days took care of it. Guess it was pretty good ;o) I stuck to the recipe with the exception of 1/2 of the milk being replaced with half-and-half; beautiful texture!
  • Angelica E
    Angelica E
    I was a little nervous about how this would turn out, but it was perfect!! Best clam chowder ever!! I doubled the recipe so I could have leftovers, but not a spoonful left. (I probably should have tripled the recipe). No worries, with all the techniques we've learned on this site, it's a cinch to make.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    We're glad you doubled it as well! And even more glad that you know the techniques inherent in this dish - so it is really easy to make. Keep cooking and cheers!
  • Peter H
    Peter H
    I have a vegetarian to consider and I wanted to make this soup, would it be worth it to try without the bacon? Thank you
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    Leaving out the bacon is not a problem. I've done it many times. Just substitute olive or avocado oil for the bacon fat. It will change the flavour slightly, but from my experience it is every bit as good. Just one question. Aren't the clams just as big a problem for vegetarians as the bacon?
  • Peter H
    Peter H
    Thank you, Leigh. They do eat fish, but no meat. Maybe that's called something else?
  • Rebecca B
    Rebecca B
    I've made this recipe several times. Most recently, I used canned clams rather than fresh. I noticed that the canned clams had more sand than the fresh ones. I carefully rinsed them in a colander before using them and they worked perfectly. I'm going to add canned clams to my regular pantry stock just because of this soup. It really uses ingredients that I otherwise have on hand -- making it convenient as a spur of the moment recipe for a stormy winter day. Thank you
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Thanks Rebecca- we're glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again for sharing your Rouxbe experience with us. ~Ken

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