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Have you a better recipe for NE clam chowder you'd like to share? (The Joy of Cooking seems to have the best I've seen yet)

If you'd like to share your recipe, that would be great....

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  1. The Gourmet Cookbook has the best recipe for clam chowder; I think it had a Manhattan style and a New England style. Where else can you find, as I recall, bacon, green pepper and caraway seeds with tomatoes and potatoes and the greatest clam chowder ever created?

    2 Replies
    1. re: EclecticEater

      Interesting..... didn't see the caraway seeds coming. I'll definately check it out! Thanks for the reply.

      1. re: bostonbakedbean

        Caraway seeds are really good in Clam Chowder. One of my dark shamful secrets is liking Chunky Clam Chowder with extra carrot and some caraway seeds mixed in and thinned with some creme.

    2. After being on the Manhattan/New England chowder fence for years, I finally tried Rhode Island Clam Chowder. It's now my favorite because the focus is on the flavor of the clams, not on milk or tomatoes. It's just rendered fatback, onions, potatoes, clams, and chicken/fish stock. Where Manhattan chowder is a bouillabase of flavors, and New England is all about creaminess, Rhode Island is purely about clams.

      4 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica

        The best NE Clam Chowder I've EVER had anywhere was at the Black Pearl on Bannister's Wharf in Newport RI. Though theirs was not of the brothy type but with milk/cream. It was redolent of clams. They took their chowder seriously as evidenced by the method they used which involved 3 separate huge pots all holding the same chowder but in various stages of readiness, so that it would not be served over cooked. especially the clams.
        I remember some dill in it as well. I would pay good money for the recipe. But I know they aren't going to give it up as they have won a few awards in NE chowder cook-offs with it.

        1. re: Chas

          Do you know they now sell it on-line?

          1. re: Chas

            So funny. It's been years since I've had it but I always remember this Black Pearl chowder as being just the way I like it. Not overly thick and creamy but really allowing the smoky clam flavor to shine through. I've never heard anyone else say how great it is, glad to know I'm not alone. Agree completely.

            1. re: twentyoystahs

              Hey Twenty - Right? Nice to know I'M not a "Cult of One" either :) By the way, there's a guy (Ben Sargent; lives in Brooklyn) who was on Martha Stewart's show and cooked his Grandfather's Chowder. (Maybe Father? can;t remember)The recipe calls for 15 lbs of Quahogs ( Shell 3inches or more across) as well as Razor Clams AND Steamers!!!! Plus a bus load of other ingredients including 5 tbsp of Peter Lugers Steak sauce and 5 Capers!!!! But the rest seem to be along the lines of The Black Pearl version.

        2. well this is a little embarrassing but there's a recipe for clam chowder from Self magazine that's actually very good and flavorful, quick and easy to make and significantly healthier than most others. i make it all the time!

          it can be found on epicurious here:

          one note: this is a thin NE style clam chowder (texture is milky rather than gravyish) so if you like the chowders thickened with flour this may not be the best one for you.

          1. Julia Child in "The Way To Cook" has a great New England Clam Chowder recipe.

            1. I'm still looking for a recipe for Maritime Chowder, like New England but definitely some kind of cheese added, and hot peppers. the chef I know that made the definitive version just passed so now I'm on my own. I've tried some I found on the internet but none is right. Anyone heard of this?

              1. I've used this supposed Legal Seafood recipe. It's pretty decent.


                1. use the cooks illistrated recipie- there stuff ussaully is the best.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ashwood

                    I made the CI recipe for m New Englander SO and his main complaint was too much bacon, he called it Bacon Soup with Clams... :P I talked to another NE friend and she said the secret is to use unsmoked bacon. That make it taste 'better'


                    1. re: Dommy

                      Salt pork is traditional in NE I believe. That's what I use.

                      1. re: coll

                        Correct. Bacon is considered a major no-no in certain parts of New England and is accepted in other parts. But salt (or pickled) pork is the tradition.

                  2. I swear by Japser White's recipe. Wear your big pants, it's addictive!


                    1. The Hungry Tiger's Clam Chowder -- A little background.

                      In 1946 Flying Tiger Line began business in So. California and became the first scheduled cargo airline in the U.S. A group of the company’s pilots and executives later started a seafood restaurant they named The Hungry Tiger located near LAX. Their plan was to utilize their own airline to bring in fresh seafood from other parts of the country and the world. It sounds commonplace now but at that time it was a novel idea. The business eventually grew to 40 restaurants before it was sold in the 1980s and then self destructed. The Flying Tiger Line was acquired by Fedex in 1989. The Hungry Tiger was a very decent seafood restaurant for its time. Their clam chowder particularly stood out.

                      Hungry Tiger Clam Chowder

                      2 Tbsp. butter
                      1/3 cup diced onion
                      1/3 cup diced leek, white part only
                      1/3 cup diced celery
                      1/3 cup diced green pepper
                      2 Tbsp. flour
                      1 quart water or fish stock
                      Salt, white pepper
                      1 small bay leaf
                      1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
                      1/3 cup diced uncooked potato
                      2 Tbsp. dry white wine
                      1⁄2 cup drained chopped clams (1 7 1⁄2 ounce can or fresh)
                      1⁄2 cup warm, heavy cream

                      Melt the butter in a saucepan, add onion, leek, celery and green pepper and cook until tender but not browned. Stir in the flour and cook over very low heat a few minutes. add water or fish stock (if canned clams are used, the clam juice can be used for part of the liquid). Add salt and pepper to taste and the bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and add the diced potato and wine. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until potato is soft. Add the clams and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove bay leaf and stir in warm cream just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

                      Note: This chowder was intended as a first course served before the dinner entree. For a meatier chowder to serve as a main course, use 1 cup of clams.

                      1. I have had this chowder @ The Cliff House in Ogunquit, Maine many, many times - it is wonderful. For their recipe go to this site and under clam chowder on the left click "here's a version for 5 cups":


                        1. If you want a traditional chowder that is not designed for restaurant use*, avoid recipes that rely on flour or cornstarch to thicken it.

                          * Restaurants use binders to keep chowders from curdling while being held over heat. The influence of restaurant-oriented recipes has led to folks thinking this is a superior way of making chowder, when in fact it is a compromise.

                          7 Replies
                            1. re: Karl S

                              This is an interesting comment and I think it needs some clarification. I am confused because as everyone knows flour or cornstarch is a pretty common way to thicken a soup, sauce or stew. In fact its used quite significantly in a roux when making gumbo. It appears you are indicating this is an inferior way of thickening a clam chowder. Or it could be you are just saying you prefer a thin clam chowder. I like a thicker clam chowder and use flour to do the trick. Is there perhaps a better way to thicken a clam chowder? Please help me out and clarify what you meant.


                              1. re: Jambalaya

                                One of the secrets of cuisine minceur from Michel Guerard was to thicken a sauce or soup with a pureed vegetable, which could be anything from potatoes, white or yams, of course starchy, to carrots, onions, tomatillos, okra, or even cauliflower or string beans. If you have one of those stick whizzers, immersion blenders, you can really go to town with this concept. Then the starchy taste of flour or corn starch never rears its ugly head.

                                1. re: EclecticEater

                                  For soups with potatoes, I've found that grating one raw potato and adding to the mix provides just enough thickness.

                                2. re: Jambalaya

                                  Well, traditionally, the only thickener in chowder comes from potato starch and the dairy element. Heavy cream tends to obscure the delicate flavor of shellfish broth -- that's why this is a special issue here -- and tended to be expensive (Yankee thrift being a component of the local cuisine), so traditionally the dairy element was not heavy with cream. The problem for restaurants with such a soup is that milk will curdle if held over heat; this is not a problem at home where chowder does not need to be held over heat. So restaurants eventually added more binders to the chowder to prevent curdling; hence the advent of the heavy dose of cream and the addition of a roux or cornstarch. But those things tend to replace the delicate taste of the sea with heaviness. Now, many people actually don't *like* the delicate taste of the sea and prefer that heaviness, and restaurants are more than happy to oblige. But it is a sign of greater culinary skill and historical understanding to pull off a more traditional chowder.

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    Jasper White to whom I defer in all things related to chowder is quite emphatic on what goes into NE chowder - salt pork but never bacon, and potatoes for the thickening. I find that chowders thicken very well with just the potatoes. I usually mash some of them lightly to release more starch. Some of JW's chowder contain heavy cream, some don't. I like his NE fish chowder which has cream but I make mine with fish stock so there's a good fish flavor throughout. His Portuguese fish chowder has no cream and is wonderfully tasty from chorizo, tomatoes and fish.

                                    1. re: cheryl_h

                                      Another chowder authority would be John Thorne, who traces a very good history of the evolution of its variations in New England cooking, and I have no doubt that Jasper has Thorne's treatment of the topic very much at heart.

                                      Now, that doesn't mean that a roux of any sort is verboten. What it means is that when you see a roux specified, you should understand the compromise it flags, for which there may be good reason for your situation. I will say that, if a cookbook purports to include a classic treatment of chowder and does not have a recipe without a roux or cornstarch, that is a sign of lazy reliance on restaurant practice by the author. It's one of several things I use to consider whether a cookbook is worth buying.

                              2. My husband is the clam chowder chef in our house. He makes a New England-style recipe with most of the usual ingredients. However, he cooks the potatoes separately and also the celery and onion in separate saucepans, then adds them toward the end of the cooking time. He says this is because otherwise the potatoes don't get cooked properly and end up too chewy, and the other vegetables get overdone. It's a once-in-a-winter treat, because it's so rich and high fat.

                                Sarah C