Clam Chowder doesn’t have to be runny or full of cream. Add more of the good stuff to make this Chunky New England Clam Chowder.
Soup and I have an interesting relationship. My husband LOVES soup – all forms of soups. And he passed this soup obsession to two out of three kids. Me? I like to chew my food.
Soup doesn’t light my fire like it does for my husband. I lean towards chunkier soups than the traditional liquid type. The same for peanut butter and mashed potatoes – I like them chunky.
One soup I do go ga-ga over is chowder. I love red AND white clam chowder. But even my beloved white chowder needed a little makeover for me. So, I went chunky. And if you love red chowder, I’ve got a fabulous recipe for a hearty and healthy Manhattan clam chowder.
What goes into a good chowder
The basic vegetables for a fabulous clam chowder is pretty universal: onions, potatoes, carrots and celery. I like to change things up, of course, and have used a variety of potatoes for clam chowder: red potatoes, finger potatoes, russet potatoes.
For thin skinned potatoes, I like to keep the skin on. The red and yellow potatoes are more waxy and hold their shape during the cooking process. If I’m using Russets, I peel the potatoes.
To bacon or not to bacon?
Some may feel that it is a sin to not start with bacon when you are making clam chowder. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, LOVE bacon. But I don’t really care for it in my chowder. I do like to sprinkle a little crushed up bacon on top, as a garnish.
Canned clams versus fresh clams
I live in Southern California. Getting fresh clams can be difficult, let alone expensive considering you need about 3-pounds of clam meat for this chunk clam chowder. So, I always use canned clams. And just a note, Costco sells big gonga cans of clam chowder for a great price!
Just remember when using canned clams, drain the clams (save the juice for your chowder!) and give the clams a good shake and rinse with water so you can get the grit out.
This Chunky New England Clam Chowder epitomizes what I love: chunks of clams to chew on, chunks of potatoes I can taste, chunks of celery and carrots that are full of flavor all hugged in a creamy base.
Now this is a soup I can clearly bite into.
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 cup fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 TBS all purpose flour
- 3 lbs canned clams
- 3 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 TBS chopped green onions, green parts only
- Heat a large stock pot on medium and add olive oil.
- When oil is hot add onions and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in potatoes, carrots and celery and continue to cook vegetable for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in garlic, salt, pepper and flour.
- Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Separate the juice from the canned clam meat. You should have about 1 quart of juice.
- Stir the clam juice to the cooked vegetables, scraping the bottom of the pot to pick up the browned bits.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the reserved clam meat and half-and-half, parsley and green onions.
- Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- Check seasoning and serve hot.
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Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 437 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 117mg Sodium: 569mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 7g Protein: 46g