Clam Chowder

~ Clam Chowder with Root Vegetables and Thyme ~

I happened to have some left over clams this week. While you scratch your heads and think, who and why would anyone have left over clams, – I’ll just say that they were the delicious vestiges of the next round of the Lambs and Clams Contest, sponsored by the Charleston Food and Wine Festival. For more details on that, you will have to tune in next week for my official post and submission. Until then, let’s talk leftovers. More specifically, let’s talk chowder.

I don’t know about you but when the weather chills down, I can’t think of anything more comforting than a bowl of piping hot, creamy chowder – blame it on my New England roots. So, this week, as the temperatures dropped and we had a deluge of rain, I found myself in the possession of some lovely clams,  and I made this chowder. Use the smallest clams you can get your hands on, such as little necks, middle necks, or, if you are on the U.S. west coast, manila clams. Typically, onions and potatoes accompany clams in a chowder. In this soup, I’ve also added leeks, celery root and turnips, which add flavor to the creamy broth, while maintaining a nice white color theme.

Clam Chowder
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
2 large black radishes or 1 medium white turnip, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1/2 small celery root, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1/2 pound small fingerling potatoes, cut in 1/4-inch coins
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
12 manila or middle neck clams or 24 little neck clams
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and fry until fat is nearly rendered (it will continue to render as the vegetables cook). Add onion and leek and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add turnip, celery root and potatoes. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.  Add milk, cream, stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil then simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the clams. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until clams open, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any unopened clam shells. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot garnished with fresh thyme sprigs.

19 thoughts on “Clam Chowder

  1. easy to make anything with butter and cream. what about tailoring to a more healthy lifestyle?

  2. I have made all kinds of chowders but never a clam chowder, in fact i have never even eaten a clam. How does one find a clam? let alone a left over one. This looks and sounds delicious and I love a recipe using good healthy dairy fats.. so good for you..nothing like butter! pure food.. c

  3. Can you believe that this native New Englander has NEVER made clam chowder? Thankfully this FAB recipe will change that sad fact.

  4. That looks INCREDIBLE!! I’m just posting my clams/oyster challenge recipes and clicked to see what you did 😉 I’ll have to come back for your challenge recipe.

    I think we have the same Le Creuset but in different colors.

  5. A most robust clam chowder recipe! The addition of black radishes or turnips adds depth of flavor to the rich broth. A very satisfying soup to warm the chill of autumn!

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