I call this the Best Clam Chowder because it is the perfect balance of clams, potatoes and onions, in a light creamy broth. I am not a big fan of thick clumpy chowders that are loaded with cream because you can’t taste the sweet clams or any of the other ingredients. This recipe is a pure delight and tastes like true clam chowder.
To make great chowder, you have to start with fresh clams. Many recipes call for canned clams, but they are not the same, they taste old. Steaming fresh clams takes only minutes and it is well worth the effort. This chowder is really simple to put together and dinner can be served within 30 minutes.
2 1/2 pounds fresh clams
5 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 white onion
3 stalks celery
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour, can use cornstarch, if gluten intolerant
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Rinse clams and check for any open or broken clams, discard if needed. Place unopened clams in a medium pot and add 1 inch of water to the bottom. Place pot over medium heat and cover with lid. Steam clams for 4-6 minutes or until they open.
2. Remove clams from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to cool. Strain clam broth through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
3. When clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from the shells. Discard shells and rough chop clams. Set aside.
4. Peel and dice potatoes and onions, then slice celery. In the same pot, add 2 tablespoons of butter and place over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute for 4 minutes. Then, add the bay leaf and clam broth.
5. Make a slurry with the flour and 1/4 cup of water. Stir with a fork and add it to the pot. Continue cooking the mixture for 4 minutes, until it begins to thicken slightly.
6. Add the potatoes, chicken broth, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cover the pot with the lid. Turn the heat to simmer and cook the chowder for 20 minutes.
7. Remove the lid and stir in the chopped clams. Drizzle in the cream and stir to combine. Continue to cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
8. Ladle the Best Clam Chowder into bowls and serve immediately. Enjoy!