Warm and Cozy: A Bowl of New England Clam Chowder
California is known for sunny winters, but farmers hope that plenty of rain will fill reservoirs and leach the accumulated salts from the soil. On those cold, cloudy days, New England Clam Chowder is one of our favorite comfort foods. Make a big pot of clam chowder on a weekend, serve with a salad and some crackers. Use your favorite bacon, lots of veggies, and plenty of potatoes for a chunky, hearty chowder. There’s nothing like coming in from working outside to find a steaming pot of chowder on the stove, anytime of the day!Jump to Recipe
Ingredients to Have on Hand
We live 10 miles from the store, so I like to have the clams and vegetable stock on hand in the pantry. We usually have onions, carrots, and celery in the fridge, because we make a lot of soup. When the urge to make chowder bubbles up, we buy the half and half. If you want to save calories, go ahead and use whole or lowfat milk, but the chowder won’t be as rich and creamy. This New England Clam Chowder is definitely worth the splurge on calories!
A note about potatoes: Use whatever you have. I like to use Russet Burbanks, leaving the skins on, and chopping into bite-sized pieces. You can even use left-over cooked potatoes, which saves some time because they’re already cooked.
Toppings for Chowder
Oyster crackers (those little round saltine-like crackers) are the traditional topping for New England clam chowder. When you are in California and have avocados on hand, top your soup with fresh avocados! If you don’t have any California avocados, you can always order a box from our family farm! We ship our avocados all over the USA in gift boxes and subscriptions. Slice them, or use fun little cookie cutters to make hearts for your sweetie! Soup topped with avocado hearts – awwwww.
New England Clam Chowder
- 1 stock pot or large saucepan
- 1 whisk
- 1 large spoon or ladle
- 1/2 lb good bacon, chopped or use real bacon bits (1 cup)
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3-4 carrots, chopped
- 4-5 raw russet potatoes, chopped in bitesize pieces I leave on the skin
- 1 51 oz can clams use the juice first, add the clams last
- 1 qt vegetable or seafood stock
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1 -2 bay leaf
- 1/2 gallon half and half can substitute whole or low fat milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until it's almost crisp.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot, and potato to the bacon. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Pour the juice from the clams over the veggies and bacon.
- Add the stock and the seasonings to the pot, and boil gently until the potatoes are tender.
- Whisk the flour into 2 cups of half and half. Add to the pot, and stir until the liquid thickens.
- Stir in the remaining half and half, add the clams, and bring to a simmer.