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New England Clam Chowder

If you’re new to this recipe, don’t worry so was I. The only time I would ever eat New England Clam Chowder was if I was out or someone else made it for me. However, after making this for the very first time I don’t know what I was so scared of; the process is so simple, I swear!

Serves: 8-10

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 60 Minutes

Fun fact about me; I worked at a diner for 9 years. I started washing dishes when I was 12, moved up to bussing tables and then eventually waited tables while going to Bard College. One of my favorite weekly questions would be, “Is the chowder white or red?” It always amazed me that people didn’t know that New England Clam Chowder is white and creamy and Manhattan Clam Chowder has a tomato base with no cream.

New England Clam Chowder

I used canned clams, which was not only super easy, but it allows you to put a plentiful amount of clams in the chowder without spending a ton of money. It was also really easy to control the consistency of the chowder. I like it to be super thick, but I know others, not so much. I only added one round of roux and the longer I let the soup simmer, the thicker and more concentrated it became.

I served my first time chowder with some crispy bacon, fresh parsley and some oyster crackers as topping options for my dad and some friends and they all came back for seconds (and some for thirds).


4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups celery, chopped

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 cups chicken broth

4 cups half and half

8 oz. clam juice (I use Bar Harbor clam juice and clams for this recipe.)

6 (6.5 oz. cans) chopped clams, 3 undrained, 3 drained

2 bay leaves

3 cups potatoes, cubed (I didn’t peel them to save time, but that is for you to decide which way you prefer them!)

salt and pepper

1/2 cup flour or cornstarch to make a roux to thicken if needed

crisp bacon, fresh parsley, and/or oyster crackers to top with - optional

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery, potatoes, oregano, thyme and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 5-10 minutes.

  3. Add the chicken broth, half and half and clam juice and simmer for 20 minutes.

  4. Stir in the clams and bay leaves and cook for the remaining 20-30 minutes.

  5. Mix the flour with some water to make a roux and then add it into the soup to thicken the consistency.

  6. Ladle hot soup into serving bowls and top with crispy bacon, parsley and/or oyster crackers.

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