Friday, January 27, 2012

THE Best Clam Chowder

Are you a fan of the red or white variety of chowder?

My family is split in two.  My son loves the creamy version, my husband will only eat the red chowder.  To me, the red chowder is reminiscent of pasta sauce;  It doesn't exactly light my fire, but then I'm not a huge fan of soups.  Not until, that is, I made a cream clam chowder from scratch this week.  I'm a convert now!  I made vats of the stuff and gave away tubs of chowder to numerous neighbors and the plaudits started flowing in.

So here's the recipe for the best clam chowder.  And I swear I didn't make up the name of the recipe.  It is actually listed under this moniker. 

The recipe well deserves it! 

Note that all ingredients are readily available at Reading Terminal Market.  The fish merchants offer fresh clams pretty much all year round.  If you prefer working with the tinned variety, stop in at Jonathan Best.

You start with the "holy trinity" of soups - onion, celery, carrot finely chopped


  • 3 (6.5ounce) cans minced clams
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

For full instructions, click here.  (Thanks to for providing this recipe.)

A few footnotes from the kitchen. 

Chowder bubbling away on the stove top - that seafood smell permeates the house!
  1. I added 1/2 tsp of chopped garlic cos I just love the combination of garlic and cream. 
  2. I also have to confess that I used additional half and half because I like a thick, thick soup. 
  3. One note of caution, don't add the minced clams until you are ready to serve.  They'll taste like shoe leather if you overcook them.  (This probably explains why not all commercial clam chowders are that good.  Once they've been reheated a few times then the clams turn stringy and chewy.)

However we can recommend the cream chowder at the Reading Terminal Market.  If you're in the mood, but have no time to cook this recipe, then stop off at Pearl's Oyster Bar for a cup or bowl. 

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