Creamy Clam Chowder

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Creamy clam chowder is a thick and rich soup typically made with clams, potatoes, onions, celery, cream or milk, and sometimes bacon. It is often seasoned with herbs and spices such as thyme, bay leaves, black pepper and paprika.

How to Make Your Own Creamy Clam Chowder: A Delicious Seafood Recipe

Creamy clam chowder is a classic dish that conjures images of cozy seaside bungalows and winter nights by the fire. The combination of tender clams, hearty veggies, and a rich, velvety base is a surefire way to bring the familiar warmth and comfort of a New England kitchen straight to your table. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting your culinary journey, mastering this creamy clam chowder recipe will add a dash of gourmet to your repertoire. Let’s dive into the ingredients, the nuances of preparation, and the secrets to a luxurious texture that will impress any palate.

Embrace the Essential Ingredients

To craft a pot of homemade creamy clam chowder, fresh ingredients are your best allies. The rich flavor of this seafood delicacy hinges on the quality of the clams and the creaminess you achieve with the soup base. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh Clams: The star of the show, clams contribute briny succulence.
  • Aromatics: Onions, celery, and carrots form the trinity of flavor in many soups and stews.
  • Potatoes: Starchy potatoes thicken the chowder and add a satisfying texture.
  • Half-and-Half or Milk: To achieve the signature creamy consistency.
  • Butter: For sautéing your vegetables and to give the base a rich, buttery flavor.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Assisting in thickening the chowder.
  • Salt and Pepper: Every good dish starts with these pantry staples.
  • Parsley: A garnish that lends color and freshness.
  • Bacon: This is optional, but the smoky flavor adds an extra dimension to your chowder.

The Preparation Process

Before you begin cooking, it’s crucial to prepare your ingredients. Scrub the clams to remove any sand or grit and place them in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two. During this time, you can chop your onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes into pieces approximately the same size for even cooking.

Now, you’re ready to start building your chowder. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes until they begin to soften, usually around 5 minutes. From there, you’ll add water and simmer until the potatoes are just tender. This forms the aromatic base of your chowder.

In another saucepan, you’ll melt butter, add flour, and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the half-and-half or milk, continuing to whisk until the mixture thickens. This flour and cream mixture, called a roux, will be the key to the chowder’s creaminess.

Once the base and the roux are ready, combine them into the large pot with the sautéed vegetables and stir well. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley, and let your chowder simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavors.

Lastly, cook your bacon separately and top your chowder with the tasty bits as a delicious garnish.

Secrets to a Luxuriously Creamy Texture

The hallmark of a great creamy clam chowder is, of course, its texture. You want your chowder to be thick without being gloopy, and rich without feeling heavy. Achieving this balance requires a delicate touch:

  • Consistency with the Roux: Ensure your roux is smooth and not too thin or thick before adding it to your main pot.
  • Stir, Don’t Agitate: After combining the roux with the chowder base, stir gently. Over-agitating the mixture can cause the chowder to become pasty.
  • Simmer, Don’t Boil: After adding the roux, simmer the chowder over low heat. Boiling can make the dairy separate and turn grainy.
  • Right Amount of Dairy: Use the recommended amount of half-and-half or milk for the quantity of soup you’re making to maintain the proper consistency.

By following these guidelines, you’ll enjoy a chowder with a perfectly creamy mouthfeel every time.

Serving and Pairing Your Creamy Clam Chowder

Now that you’ve perfected your creamy clam chowder, consider the best ways to serve and enjoy it. A sprinkle of parsley and bacon on top not only looks appetizing but adds complexity to the flavor profile. Serve your chowder in warm, crusty bread bowls for a fun and delicious presentation.

Pair your chowder with a fresh green salad or a simple garlic bread for a meal that balances the rich flavors of the chowder with light and crisp accompaniments. If you’re hosting a dinner party, consider a white wine like a dry riesling or a light pinot grigio to enhance the seafood notes.

In Conclusion, Dive In and Enjoy!

Making creamy clam chowder is a multi-step process, but each step is straightforward, and the final product is a bowl of maritime delight. Whether for a casual weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this recipe will earn you accolades and full, satisfied bellies. So, gather your ingredients, start simmering, and let the aroma of homemade clam chowder fill your kitchen—it’s an experience that’s as rewarding as the first spoonful of velvety broth.

Creamy Clam Chowder

Creamy clam chowder is a thick and rich soup typically made with clams, potatoes, onions, celery, cream or milk, and sometimes bacon. It is often seasoned with herbs and spices such as thyme, bay leaves, black pepper and paprika.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 632 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb clams fresh, diced
  • 1 whole onion chopped, medium-sized
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 whole carrots chopped, medium-sized
  • 2 whole potatoes chopped, medium-sized
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup butter salted
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart half-in-half cream/milk
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp parsley chopped, fresh
  • 2 strips bacon chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Sautée onion, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Add water then stir. Cover pot, bring to a boil.
  • In another saucepan, melt the butter. Add all-purpose flour, stir until smooth. Add half & half cream, cook and whisk until thickened.
  • Transfer cooked flour mixture into the large pot. Reduce heat. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Top with bacon and more parsley if desired. Ready to serve!

Video

Notes

 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 632kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 20gFat: 44gSaturated Fat: 27gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 1129mgPotassium: 817mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 2900IUVitamin C: 12.4mgCalcium: 150mgIron: 11.7mg
Keyword Seafood, Soup
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