It’s been about two years since we’ve been to Boston, but the memories of our last visit was filled with rain, cold and more rain. And it was awesome. Being starved of rain down in Southern California for so long, we always hoped to have rain like those visits to Boston. We love the rain and with that cold weather comes the craving for creamy New England clam chowder.
Over the last week we finally received a few days of good rain in the Los Angeles basin, but it’s not enough to make up for all the years of parched weather. We’re grateful for the rain as of late and as the rain came down in big buckets, those memories of eating clam chowder snuck up on us. So we pulled out our favorite recipe that we made a few moths ago and made another big, satisfying batch.
The whole culture of clam chowder is an education in itself, with so many varieties, variations, family traditions, favorites and specialties. It’s hard to say which one is our true favorite. There are so many die-hard fans of creamy New England Clam Chowder that we’ve seen arguments about how it should be made. We love all the variations and are of the belief that differences in food traditions are a way to learn and be open-minded.
And we can’t forget New England Clam Chowder’s kissing cousin, or is it more of an arch-rival. Remove the cream base and add tomatoes, then what you have is amazing Manhattan clam chowder. We’re fans of it all too. Give us a spoon and we’ll make it disappear within minutes.
We’ve made multiple batches of different kinds of clam chowder over the last two weeks and it has satisfied our bellies beyond belief. In fact, a few days ago we had friends over for a clam chowder dinner and we all had our favorite ways of cooking and eating it, including plenty of dashes of tabasco sauce.
Tabasco sauce? We tried it and loved it. There’s so much more to learn in this world of clam chowder.
Some of us like it thicker and creamier, some like it more runny with lots of heavy cream. All variations are fantastic.
This is our favorite pot of creamy New England clam chowder in just 30 minutes. Sometimes after a long day at the studio, all we want is a quick but homemade batch of clam chowder to warm us up when it’s raining like mad outside.
Sitting in our kitchen, eating a big bowl of this favorite clam chowder with crackers reminds us of our awesome Boston visits. Maybe if we eat enough clam chowder, we’ll be able to get back to Boston sooner than we think.
diane and todd
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30 minute New England Clam Chowder
Yield: Serves 4-6
Total Time: 30 minutes
You can choose how thick you want your chowder. We like our chowder both ways. When we crave a thicker version, we use 3 tablespoons of flour in the milk, which is what is reflected in this recipe and photo. Sometimes we'll crave it thinner and only use 1 tablespoon of flour or none at all, like many of the clam chowders that we have eaten in Boston. Choose your preference!
We prefer to use whole clams that we find in our market in the 10 oz cans. But most markets carry the 6.5 oz minced clams, so the recipe is written for minced clams. If you can find whole clams, then even better! If so, we normally use 2 (10 oz.) cans of whole clams. You'll have more clams to bite into and much more clam flavor.
- 3 slices of bacon, cut into small strips
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- 3 medium potatoes (about ½ pound), peeled and diced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon fresh crack black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to personal taste
- 1 (8oz) bottle of clam juice
- ½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 2 (6.5 oz cans) clams in juices, drained but save the juices
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- Heat medium pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon strips and cook till crisp and fat is released. Remove the pieces of bacon, drain on paper towels and set aside.
- In the same pot, add onion and garlic. Cook until garlic is soft and translucent but not burnt, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add water, potatoes, celery, Worcestershire, thyme, black pepper, salt, bottle of clam juice, juice from the 2 cans (but not the clams), and heavy cream
- Bring the chowder to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer chowder on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and milk. Break up any clumps of flour. After the first 15 minutes of simmering, add this flour/milk mixture to the pot. Also add the minced clams. (Note: do not add the flour/milk mixture & clams until you have simmered the chowder for the first 15 minutes to cook the potatoes.)
- Simmer for about 5 more minutes until the chowder is thickened or until heated through.
- Serve the chowder with the pieces of bacon on top.