Creamy Clam Chowder

Creamy Clam Chowder-18Living in Florida has many benefits, and all the fresh seafood is definitely high on the list. Every time I visit a fish market, my mind starts whirring with all sorts of possible meal ideas. There is so much inspiration for new recipes when I’m surrounded with amazing ingredients.

This clam chowder has a unique combination of creaminess and heartiness but it’s also chock full of fresh flavors and different textures. There are so many variations of clam chowder recipes, but this one is the one I like the most. The taste of the sea from the fresh clams, the potatoes, bacon and cream make it hearty and luscious, the onion and celery give it that classic chowder flavor, the small jalapeño adds just a bit of heat, the corn adds crunch and a bit of sweetness and the herbs give it freshness. 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 – 3 lbs clams (cherry stone, little neck, middle neck, etc.)

6 1/2 cups water, divided

4-6 strips of bacon, minced

1 onion, minced

1-2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

3 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 lbs (about 6-7 small) red potatoes, chopped small

1 dry bay leaf

dash cayenne pepper

1 cup fresh corn

1 cup heavy cream

salt, ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Creamy Clam Chowder-1-20Soak the clams in cold water for 30 minutes. Creamy Clam Chowder-2The clams should all be tightly closed. Discard any damaged clams. Drain the water and scrub each of the clams with a brush. Cover the clams with fresh cold water again and let them soak while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Place the clams in a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven and pour enough fresh water over them to cover the clams, about 4 1/2 cups. Creamy Clam Chowder-3Bring the water to a boil and cook the clams for about 5 minutes, just until they open up. In about 2-3 minutes, they should start to open up, so start scooping out the ones that open up and by the time the clams cook for 5-7 minutes, they should all be open. Creamy Clam Chowder-4

Creamy Clam Chowder-6If some don’t open, discard them. Strain the clam juice through a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel and reserve it. You should have 4 1/2-4 cups.

Creamy Clam Chowder-5Take the clams out of the shells and cut them into bite sized pieces.

Instead of fresh clams, you can use canned clams and bottled clam juice. 

Wash out the dutch oven and return it to the stove. Add the bacon to the pot and cook it on medium low heat until the bacon is crisp and golden. Remove the bacon and set it to the side.

Creamy Clam Chowder-7Discard all of the bacon grease except for 2 Tablespoons. Add the onion, celery and jalapeño to the bacon grease and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Season with a small amount of salt (since the bacon grease is salty) and ground black pepper.Creamy Clam Chowder-8Add the flour to the cooked vegetables and stir it in, cooking for about a minute, until the flour is evenly distributed among the vegetables.

Creamy Clam Chowder-9Pour in the reserved clam juice plus an additional 2 cups of water, scraping the bottom of the dutch oven to scrape all the brown bits and making sure the flour is dissolved. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Creamy Clam Chowder-11

Creamy Clam Chowder-10Add the potatoes, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, then taste the broth to see if it needs more salt. Cook, covered, at a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, just until the potatoes are cooked through.Creamy Clam Chowder-12Add the fresh corn and the clams, cooking for another 3-5 minutes, just enough for the clams to cook through.Creamy Clam Chowder-13Pour in the heavy cream, stir to combine and add the fresh herbs. Creamy Clam Chowder-14

Creamy Clam Chowder-15

 

Creamy Clam Chowder
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2½ - 3 lbs clams (cherry stone, little neck, middle neck, etc.)
  • 6½ cups water, divided
  • 4-6 strips of bacon, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1½ lbs (about 6-7 small) red potatoes, chopped small
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup fresh corn
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt, ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak the clams in cold water for 30 minutes. The clams should all be tightly closed. Discard any damaged clams. Drain the water and scrub each of the clams with a brush. Cover the clams with fresh cold water again and let them soak while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Place the clams in a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven and pour enough fresh water over them to cover the clams, about 4½ cups. Bring the water to a boil and cook the clams for about 5 minutes, just until they open up. In about 2-3 minutes, they should start to open up, so start scooping out the ones that open up and by the time the clams cook for 5-7 minutes, they should all be open. If some don't open, discard them. Strain the clam juice through a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel and reserve it.
  3. Take the clams out of the shells and cut them into bite sized pieces.
  4. Instead of fresh clams, you can use canned clams and bottled clam juice.
  5. Wash out the dutch oven and return it to the stove. Add the bacon to the pot and cook it on medium low heat until the bacon is crisp and golden. Remove the bacon and set it to the side.
  6. Discard all of the bacon grease except for 2 Tablespoons. Add the onion, celery and jalapeño to the bacon grease and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Season with a small amount of salt (since the bacon grease is salty) and ground black pepper.
  7. Add the flour to the cooked vegetables and stir it in, cooking for about a minute, until the flour is evenly distributed among the vegetables.
  8. Pour in the reserved clam juice plus an additional 2 cups of water, scraping the bottom of the dutch oven to scrape all the brown bits and making sure the flour is dissolved. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, then taste the broth to see if it needs more salt. Cook, covered, at a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, just until the potatoes are cooked through.
  9. Add the fresh corn and the clams, cooking for another 3-5 minutes, just enough for the clams to cook through.
  10. Pour in the heavy cream, stir to combine and add the fresh herbs.

Creamy Clam Chowder-16

7 Comments

  • Nelya

    Don’t think I’ve made clam chowder yet, and definitely never cooked with fresh clams! I’m excited to try this out sometime soon, I think my husband will love it!

  • Barbara Rita

    Wow, that looks wonderful and so easy! Thanks for the step by step – its makes the whole recipe so much easier to follow!
    As always, grateful for your blog!
    Regards Barbara

  • Mila

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe!! My husband just found out his job will be transferring him to Tampa (we live in nyc) and one of the things that I love about living here is the variety of restaurants. Clam chowder is definitely one of my favorite soups but I’ve never attempted at making it because it always sounded so intimidating. (that and learning to drive…sorry in advance to anyone living near tampa) This recipe makes it so much less intimidating!
    Your blog has been my virtual cookbook for over a year. All of your recipes are so delicious and so easy to make plus the photos are a great step-by-step guide!
    Now if you can just write a step-by-step on how not to freak out about driving – that be great! 😉

    • olgak7

      Welcome to Tampa, Mila! We love this area.
      I agree that clam chowder sounds intimidating, but it really isn’t. I have found out that many things that sound intimidating turn out to be not that difficult to make.
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I am so glad that my blog is useful for you.

      • Mila

        Thank you Olichka! If you happen to know of any reputable Realtors that specialize in rentals in Tampa it would be so helpful. We don’t know a soul in Tampa and are going by Yelp and Craigslist (Lifetime Movie network has scorned me for life with Craigslist but my husband is insisting)
        Our emails are mil_arce@yahoo.com
        OR nelsonarce@gmail.com

        Thank you!

        • olgak7

          No, unfortunately I can’t really help you with that. I don’t know any realtors. We never used realtors when looking for something to rent. We just looked online for the areas that we were interested in living, but both of the places that we lived at we just found by driving around in that area.
          I hope you are able to find something soon.

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