Clam Chowder is easy to make with simple ingredients that you can source locally.
This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I discovered in one of my most cherished cookbooks. It is a copy of The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book dated 1946. It is one of the few books I have on display in my kitchen, grateful to have it.
The cool thing about old cookbooks is the recipes are very simple, usually with ingredients you have on hand. It was one of the books I used to teach myself to cook and then adapt recipes with more modern ingredients.
The Clam Chowder is a simple recipe that I have added more “expensive” ingredients like bacon and celery, both that were probably not an everyday pantry ingredient in 1946.
If you plan on using fresh clams, prepare them first then set aside while making the chowder.
- 1 - 2 cans of baby clams or a bundle of fresh clams in the shells, rinsed well in cold water
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 2 - 3 stalks of celery - chopped
- 2 - 3 carrots - sliced into coins
- 2 -3 medium potatoes - small cubes
- 4 - 5 slices of bacon - chopped fairly fine
- 4-6 cups of milk
- ½ cream
- 3 -4 tablespoons of flour
- To prepare fresh clams for the chowder:
- Place the fresh clams and one cup of water into a large saucepan.
- Cover and cook over high heat for 9 - 10 minutes.
- Remove and discard any clams that did not open.
- Strain the liquid in a find mess strainer and set aside.
- Remove all clam meat from the remaining shells and chop to desired size.
- In a large pot oven medium low heat, slowly saute the onions until translucent.
- Add the chopped bacon and continue to cook until the bacon is partially cooked and lightly browned.
- Add the celery, stirring well to incorporate, cook for a few minutes.
- If using canned clams add them now, including the liquid..
- Add the potatoes and carrots and season well with salt and pepper.
- Add enough milk to generously cover the vegetables and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until potatoes and carrots are tender.
- If you are using fresh clams, add the perared clams and reserved juice now.
- Turn heat to medium high and bring the chowder to a gentle boil.
- Combine 3 -4 tablespoons of flour into a half cup of cream.
- Add the flour cream mixture to the chowder and stir well to combine.
- Simmer for another 10 minutes and turn heat off.
- Chowder will thicken as it cools.
This chowder is always served with fresh buns! I shared my go to recipe for buns earlier. It is a great small batch recipe you can whip up in a few short hours.
The image below is a picture of the original recipe I started with many years ago!