Dave’s New England Clam Chowder

The secret to making delicious clam chowder?  Start by making delicious hash browns.

1 ½ to 2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, cubedIMG_0396
4 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped
½ small onion, small dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 T of flour
5T unsalted butter
4 cups Snow’s clam juice
2 cans chopped clams, strained
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground thyme
1 cup light cream or Half-and-Half
Dill, salt, and pepper to taste

  1. Sauté the cubed potatoes with 2 T of butter, plus dill, salt, and pepper to taste. Get them golden brown.
  2. In a Dutch oven, sauté the chopped bacon until crisp. Add the diced onion and sauté 2 or 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two.
  3. Remove everything from the Dutch oven, straining out and preserving the bacon fat. Add the onion and bacon mixture to the potatoes. This mixture should be absolutely delicious on its own.
  4. In fact, you will need to resist the temptation to scrap the clam chowder plan, scramble a couple of eggs, and serve with the onion and bacon hash browns. Persevere. This chowdah is worth it.
  5. Add back to the Dutch oven 1 T of bacon fat and 3 T of unsalted butter. Add 4 T of flour to make a roux.  Cook the roux until it begins to darken and takes on a distinctly nutty aroma.
  6. Strain the chopped clams, preserving the juice. Add enough Snow’s bottled clam juice to make up 4 cups.
  7. Stir two cups of the clam juice into the roux. Allow it to come up to temperature. It will get thicker as it gets hotter. Add remaining clam juice a cup at a time, allowing to come up to temp each time.
  8. Add the hash browns, chopped clams, bay leaf, dried thyme and ground thyme.
  9. Gently stir in the cream or half-and-half.
  10. Simmer for at least 30 minutes to blend flavors, but do not bring to a boil. Add some additional clam juice if the chowdah seems too thick for your taste.
  11. Remove bay leaf before serving.


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