Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday Recipe

I remember living in North Carolina and Matt used to just walk out into the water of Bogue Sound and collect a large bunch of clams which we would then cook in various ways, often making a clam chowder. I saw this version and thought I would like to share it with you.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder

Sarah Anne Ward for The New York Times.

24 medium-size quahog clams, usually rated ‘‘top neck’’ or ‘‘cherrystone,’’ rinsed
1 Tbs unsalted butter
¼ lb slab bacon or salt pork, diced
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 large ribs celery, cleaned and diced
12 red bliss potatoes, cubed
½ cup dry white wine
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped parsley.

1. Put the clams in a large, heavy Dutch oven, add about 4 cups water, then set over medium-high heat. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. (Clams that fail to open after 15 to 20 minutes should be discarded.) Strain clam broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or doubled-up paper towels, and set aside. Remove clams from shells, and set those aside as well.

2. Rinse out the pot, and return it to the stove. Add butter, and turn heat to medium-low. Add the bacon or salt pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pork has started to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from fat, and set aside.

3. Add onions and celery to the fat, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes and wine, and continue cooking until the wine has evaporated and the potatoes have just started to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of clam broth, reserving the rest for another use. Add the thyme and the bay leaf.

4. Partly cover the pot, and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, chop the clams into bits that are about the size of the bacon dice.

6. When the potatoes are tender, stir in the chopped clams and reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste. Let the chowder come just to a simmer, and remove from heat. Fish out the thyme and bay leaf, and discard.

7. The chowder should be allowed to sit for a while to cure. Reheat it before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.

Author Notes

Clear clam chowder originated along the southern coast of Rhode Island, where it is a local delicacy much to be preferred over the creamier version of Boston to the north and the (to them) criminally tomato-hued style served in Manhattan to the south and west. Eating it recalls the feeling of pulling into Block Island after a long day at sea, scented with salt spray, and sliding into a clean bunk to sleep.

Have a great weekend


  1. Hi Jo - love clam chowder, or a good fish soupy stew .. wonderful! Cheers Hilary

    1. Me too Hilary. Can you get fresh clams in the UK or only canned?

  2. Clam Chowder is SO American - I have never eaten it but it sounds delicious!
    That's Purrfect

    1. You say that Patricia, but Hilary who commented before you is also in England. I don't know if you can get fresh clams in England, don't remember.

  3. Oh GMD, nums, that looks delicious! I love clam chowders, particularly New England, but this one looks amazing. Thanks for sharing it. I'll try convincing Alan to give it a try. He's the experimental chef in the house. Love you!! Xoxoxo

    1. Hi Eva. I miss our easy access to clams these days. Haven't had a clam chowder in a while. Love you too.

  4. Wow. I grew up here and I've never heard of RI clam chowder. It's either New England or Manhattan, and no one orders Manhattan style. I don't think you'd find anyone here that would make that w/o adding the all important cream and flour!

    1. Isn't Manhattan the one with tomato JoJo? I remember having that many years ago. Enjoyed it, but prefer the New England one. This maybe a recent invention by the chef.

  5. Usually we only see seafood chowder here Jo, but that can be an excuse for anything... I tried the clam chowder once in New England and it was very good, there's no doubt :) Have a great week. Fil

    1. I knew I didn't remember clams in England Phil. Oysters yes. Whitstable Oysters used to be fabulous only in those days I didn't eat oysters. Makes me mad when I think of it. My parents used to devour them.

  6. When I lived on the coast, I used to get fresh clams. Wow, what a difference from tin. But ... I've used both in the past.

  7. Replies
    1. Clam chowder is so good to eat Birgit, especially if you can get fresh clams.