Creamy Clam Chowder

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

This New England-style chowder is loaded with sweet, fresh cherrystones and a bit of bacon for salty, smokiness.


  • 12 cherrystone clams (1 ½ pounds), scrubbed well

  • 2 slices bacon, finely chopped

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried)

  • 1 pound new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • Dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. In a large skillet, bring clams and 1 cup water to a boil. Cover; cook until clams have opened, 3 to 5 minutes (discard any that do not open). Transfer clams to a bowl. Strain liquid into a measuring cup; add water to yield 1 cup. Remove clam meat from shells; coarsely chop.

  2. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium-low heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add onion and celery; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, potatoes, cooking liquid, and 1 more cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

  3. Puree about 1 cup mixture in a blender until smooth. Stir puree back into soup; add cream. Simmer over low heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Add clams and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Cook's Notes

When buying clams, make sure the shells are tightly closed. Scrub them well with a vegetable brush before cooking, and discard any that do not open.

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