Creamy clam chowder is really easy to make at home, even with fresh clams.
Rich creamy clam chowder is something you'd expect to find on the menu at a fancy restaurant but maybe not something you'd you'd think of in terms of a recipe you could make at home.
Homemade clam chowder that's full of flavor
Now, you could just save yourself some trouble and grab a can of clam chowder soup. However, once you taste the difference between homemade clam chowder and the canned stuff, I have a feeling you won't want to go back. 🙂
Is homemade clam chowder easy to make?
The good news, my friends, is that creamy clam chowder is surprisingly easy to make at home. Even with fresh clams. Clams are actually quite easy to cook. The hardest of cooking clams is actually buying them. Many of the higher end grocery stores do carry fresh seafood at an affordable cost. Actually, as far as seafood goes, clams are one of the most affordable options.
How to find fresh clams
Now, if you're looking for the freshest best tasting clams, they are naturally in season during the months that contain the letter "R." So in you want to buy your clams in season, then plan to shop between September and April. Of course, thanks to modern conveniences, you can pretty much find fresh clams at any time.
Could you use canned clams?
You might be thinking... What about canned clams? Yes, you could use canned clams to make this clam chowder. They have a decent amount of flavor and are certainly an easier, more accessible option than fresh. If you're short on time, you can also opt for canned clams but my feeling is, if you're going to the trouble of making clam chowder from scratch, you might as well start with fresh clams.
Leftover clams from a clam bake
Luckily for me, we had a clam bake this fall and whenever we host a get together, the Mr. always gets more than enough to feed everyone. So, we had plenty of leftover clams, ready to go. Cooked clam, if refrigerated, can store for up to three days. So this chowder is great if you're in a hurry to use up your leftover clams.
How to get more flavor into your clam chowder
So, once you've decide on the type of clams you'll go for, it's really just a matter of making a creamy soup base. Clams, which do have a distinct flavor, aren't extremely flavorful by themselves. So the chowder does require some doctoring to really enhance the flavor of the clams an to ultimately achieve that rich taste you've come to expect when dining at an upscale restaurant.
It's all easy stuff though. Everything you need is outlined below. Just gather up your ingredients and follow the direction. You'll be good to go!
There are a few helpful tool for making this recipe:
- Dutch Oven - This allows you saute, create your roux, and simmer the chowder all in one pot.
- Large Cast Iron Skillet
Tips for cooking live clams
If you are using live clams, then you might need to know how to cook them. Here's how:
How to prep clams for cooking:
First, sort your clams. Remove any clams with shells that are damaged. Then completely submerge your live clams in cold water and soak them for 20 minutes to remove sand. The clams will actually clean themselves! Their natural filtration cycle will push out the sand and will take in the fresh water. You may need to also scrub the outside of the shells if they appear dirty or gritty.
How to steam clams:
Heat 2 tablespoon butter in a large skillet until bubbly. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and cook for one minute. Then add ½ cup white wine and juice from half a lemon. Once boiling add live clams and cover. Steam for about 6-10 minutes or until clams have opened up. If you find any that are still tightly closed, then you'll want to toss them out.
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This recipe was featured on Raising Homemaking!
Rich Creamy Clam Chowder
- 2 dozen cooked clams or 26.5 oz cans of clams - see above for how to cook clams
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1 cup corn
- 2 large potatoes cubed
- 1 tablespoon galic paste
- ½ onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 8 oz clam juice
- ½ cup white wine a dry wine is best
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Toppings optional: chopped green onion and crumbled bacon
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- First boil cubed potatoes* in a small pot for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat butter on medium until bubbling. Add chopped celery. Cook for about 2 minutes then add chopped onion and corn. Cook for 2 minutes then add garlic. Cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in flour with a whisk. Heat until bubbly. Cook, stirring frequently for about 1 minute.**
- Stir in chicken stock, cooked clams and clam juice.Add white wine and heavy cream. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
- Finally, gently stir in cooked potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with green onions and/or bacon.