New England Clam Chowder

Servings: 9


  • 8 pounds cherrystone clams, scrubbed ( substitute with two 10-ounce cans of baby clams and 6 cups of bottled clam juice)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives
  • Oyster crackers or Vermont Common Crackers


  • Bring clams and 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat
  • Cook until clams just open, 8-10 minutes (discard any that do not open)
  • Using a large slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large rimmed baking sheet; set broth aside. Let clams cool slightly, then pull meat from shells; discard shells
  • Chop clams into bite-size pieces
  • Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl, add water if needed to measure 6 cups
  • Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat
  • Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes
  • Add celery, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes
  • Add reserved broth (or 6 cups bottled clam juice), potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf
  • Bring chowder base to a simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes
  • Stir cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl to form a slurry
  • Stir slurry into chowder base; return to a boil to thicken
  • Remove base from heat
  • Discard bay leaf
  • Stir in reserved clams (or two 10-ounce cans baby clams) and cream
  • Season with salt, if needed
  • Divide chowder among bowls
  • Garnish with chives and oyster crackers