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Jun 21, 2007 07:42 AM

Clam chowder without potatoes?

I'm having people over for dinner and was thinking of starting the meal with a cup of clam chowder (also because it'll go well with the white Burgundy I want to open). But with the main course, I'm going to serve mashed potatoes. So that might be potato overkill, with the potatoes in the chowder...

Has anyone ever made clam chowder with some other vegetable instead of potatoes? Maybe parsnips or turnips?

Any thoughts? Or should I just make some kind of lobster or shrimp bisque?

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  1. clam chowder without potatoes sounds a bit like sacrilege. i think if you don't want to make two potato dishes, definitely try out a different soup.

    1. I'm laughing right now. I thought I was strange, its been in the high 90s to the 100s and been dreaming of clam chowder! But all sound good and would make a terrific starter!

      When I make clam chowder, which I have a few different recipes, my favorite is toI make it on the thick side, with more onion, celery and carrots and very few potatoes. Veggies are cut into a small dice. The soup for me is about the clams and the creamy good stuff. Bacon,and a little bell pepper lots of clam juices and cream and butter, topped with a small bisucit/cracker/and chives. As close as I could get to the original recipe of a small coastal cafe in Oregon (years ago).

      I am thinking that the turnips would overpower the clams...Just a thought.

      1. before this runs completely off the rails with a digression about "what is true chowdah", i think potatoes in the app and on the main is over-kill, yes. can you do a different starch with the entree?

        1. Might I suggest a traditional thick French fish soup instead of clam chowder? I assume, because you're thinking chowder, you're thinking thick and rich, rather than something brothy. The nice thing about this soup is that serving it with rouille-slathered croutons, and grated cheese (gruyere or parmesan), is that they flavours are sharp enough for warm weather. I use whiting, usually. Ingredients: garlic, onion, leeks, tinned tomatoes, fennel bulb, bouquet garni, orange zest, Pernod, salt, pepper, saffron. Water enough to cover. If that sounds good, I'll expand on the technique, if you want.

          1. Without the potatoes it's not chowder, it's a quasi bisque. You could make a nice corn chowder, although that too would be starchy. How about a classic billi bi (mussel soup)? Elegant, easy, delicious.

            8 Replies
            1. re: janeer

              Thanks for all the responses. There are two things that I have to work with or around: 1. my boyfriend really wants me to make "my" mashed potatoes, which he loves, with the entree. 2. I want to open a nice Meursault.

              So, Hungry Pangolin, I like your idea, but I think it'd be too highly seasoned or herbal for the Meursault.

              My other thought was just making clams with cream sauce, shallot and thyme. But then I thought of adding chunks of bacon and I started drifting back to the clam chowder idea...

              Anyone have any good bisque recipes?

              1. re: sjb7501

                If you want clam chowder without potatoes-have it. I won't tell. I make it all the time without potatoes and have never been arrested by the chowder police. Sometimes I add a little corn (is there anything better right now than fresh corn) and it's a delicious chowder, err soup, no uhm chunky bisquesque quasi stew varietal. One thing for sure, it is good to eat.

                1. re: Densible

                  I agree. Make it without potatoes and call it something else. Rachael Ray makes things she calls "stoup"...

                  1. re: mojoeater

                    I third that, except call it what you like. "Potato-free chowder" works. Whether or not you meet some people's restrictions on the definition of chowder is irrelevant.

                    I don't use any salt pork or bacon. I find it heavy and cloying in what is already a strong tasting item. The only reason salt pork is traditional is because it's what they had! Personally, I add a *few* carmelized onions for adding depth without heaviness. My preference.

                    Potatos, none --you decide whether or not it will go well with your wine.

                    1. re: mojoeater

                      no potatoes is fine. i like it with celery, shallot, bacon and fresh corn if it can be had.

                      please don't call it stoup.

                      1. re: mojoeater

                        I believe the very traditional term for such a soup is...clam stew. Chowder by definition is built on potatoes; to have a chowder without potatoes is like having calling a hotdog on a roll a lobster roll.

                        1. re: mojoeater

                          "Stoup" is not chowder. It is too thin to be called stew and too thick to be called soup. Thats the way it was explained to me when I asked a friend what was this "stoup" his wife was fixing for dinner.

                        2. re: Densible

                          Densible, I am going to call the chowder cops right this very minute.

                          Your clams with cream sauce, shallot , corn, and thyme sounds wonderful, so does adding bacon. Sounds like you really want clam chowder. I wonder what you ended up doing.