New England Clam Chowder
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New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

As kids growing up, when we went out to a restaurant, what we ordered was routine (thank goodness I outgrew that phase).  Even though Mom had it memorized and could have easily ordered for us, from as early as I can remember she insisted we order our own meal (and take our elbows off the table).  The server would take our drink order first, mine was always Ginger Ale.  Then they’d come back and take our meal order, mine was always a Grilled Cheese Sandwich and a cup of Clam Chowder.  Always.  When you grow up in New England, it’s not a matter of whether Clam Chowder is the ‘soup of the day’….it will always be on the menu.

Yesterday, I needed Clam Chowder.  It’s more than comfort food, it’s like Mom’s arms wrapped snugly around me.  I think reminiscing with my sister this week about Mom, and all the things we wished we had told her, has got my chowder juices flowing.  Sure I could buy a can of Snow’s Clam Chowder, which is what got me through dorm-room living while in college.  OR I could make a nice big pot full of Mom’s chowder and {Share the Love}.  I took a vote at the office and a big pot full won hands down.

New England Clam Chowder

Cherrystone clams were not readily available.  And since my mind was made up that I was having Clam Chowder, I used cans of baby clams and bottled clam juice, a fine substitution, in their place.  Otherwise I followed my mom’s recipe, a nice creamy clam chowder, yet not corn-starchy like pudding thick.  I prefer to appreciate each ingredient’s flavor and goodness.  I’m sure over the years I told Mom many times how much I loved her chowders.  Let today be one more time.  xo

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Libby with Lemony Thyme
Course Soup
Servings 6


  • 3 6.5 oz cans chopped or minced baby clams, drained (reserve juice)
  • 2 8 oz. bottles of clam juice
  • ½ lb. bacon cut into small pieces
  • 2 Tbl. butter
  • 1 large onion fine diced
  • 2 celery stalks very fine diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 Tbl. flour
  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • Kosher salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Fresh chives
  • Oyster crackers and/or crusty bread optional


  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, brown bacon pieces, then drain on paper towels and reserve. Add butter, onion, and celery and cook until onion is translucent. Add in garlic and cook an additional minute.
  • Sift flour over onion mixture, stirring to combine. Increase heat to med-high, then add potatoes, clam broth, and reserved juice from canned clams and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, add in fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Gently simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaves and discard.
  • Add in clams, cream, and milk, heat for 3-4 minutes until warmed through (do not boil). Season will salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne.
  • Serve in bowls sprinkled with cooked bacon and minced chives.
  • Oyster crackers and crusty bread are wonderful too.

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