This chowder comes from Jasper White, chef and proprietor of numerous restaurants, including Summer Shack in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Use the freshest clams possible, and if you need to supplement the chowder with commercially prepared broth, make sure that it is made with juice from fresh clams.



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat a 4- to 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, and add salt pork. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase the heat to medium and cook until salt pork is a crisp golden brown. Remove from pot; set aside.

  • Add butter, onions, garlic, celery, thyme, and bay leaves. Saute, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until onions are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

  • Add potatoes and strained clam broth. The broth should just barely cover the potatoes; if it doesn't, add enough water to cover them. Increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Cover, and cook potatoes vigorously until they are soft on the outside but still firm in the center, about 10 minutes. If the broth hasn't thickened lightly, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more to release the starch.

  • Remove pot from the heat, and stir in diced clams and cream. Season to taste. If you are not serving the chowder within the hour, let it cool a bit, then refrigerate; cover after it has completely chilled. Otherwise, let it sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour, allowing the flavors to meld.

  • When ready to serve, reheat the chowder over low heat; don't let it boil. Ladle into cups or bowls, making sure that clams, potatoes, and onions are evenly divided. Sprinkle with parsley, chives, and reserved salt-pork cracklings.

Cook's Notes

Chef Jasper White freezes the salt pork before preparing the chowder, making it easier to cut.

Reviews (4)

21 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 7
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
No adjustments needed! Incredible taste. Made it twice in one week!
Rating: 5 stars
Oh my word, Delicious! This recipe is my first take on clam chowder and after a review of about 10 on the internet, I went with this one because of all the fresh ingredients. You can't go wrong with fresh herbs and fresh clams. I have always loved clam chowder and knew that I'd pretty much only eat good chowder at top-of-the-line restaurants. Then I thought, just make it myself. The cooking experience of it was cool--I felt like an authentic, sophisticated chef preparing a master recipe. It was full of flavor! Jasper and Martha, thank you so much for sharing a pot of happiness!
Rating: 5 stars
I grew up an live in New England and this is, by far, the best chowder recipe I have ever made and eaten. It is not a super thick soup, which is the way chowder should be. I start with live quahogs, but if you can't get them, use fresh or canned. It will make a difference but it will still be good. If you can't get salt pork, use a less smoky bacon.
Rating: Unrated
I've been using this recipe for over 10 years -- it's the best! It's tried and true --- worth the effort (and calories!) - I use bacon if I don't have the salt pork and dried thyme works well too -