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Recipe: Clam chowder

Posted February 28, 2013

We read a lot of children's books at my house and one of our very favorites is the classic "One Morning in Maine," by Robert McCloskey.

The book tells the story of a simple morning in Maine that involves a loose tooth, a trip by boat to Buck's Harbor to go shopping and some ice cream cones. I love the simplicity of the story. My kids know it so well they can recite most of it by heart.

The story comes to an end as they head back home for lunch and the main character shouts at the top of her lungs that they're going to have "clam chowder for lunch!" And that's exactly what my kids yell when we've had this.

This recipe for clam chowder comes from my mother. It was in regular rotation on our lunch menus growing up. And, while I know you can simply open up a can of soup and heat it up, I love making food from scratch for my family.

Clam Chowder
About 4 or 5 servings

1/4 cup butter
4 medium onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 medium potatoes, diced
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup light cream
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
5 cups milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 to 2 carrots, diced
2 cans clams

Pare and dice the potatoes and carrots. Cover with clam broth from the two cans of clams, along with water (two cups of liquid combined). Cook until tender.

In another pot, melt butter. Saute onions and celery until golden. Add salt, pepper, thyme and flour. Stir so that the flour coats vegetables evenly and butter is absorbed.

Remove from heat and slowly add cream, stirring so that the sauce is smooth. Add milk and put the pot back on medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook until the base is thickened.

Add the cooked potatoes, carrots and two cans of drained, chopped clams. Heat through.

We always sprinkle a little paprika on top of each bowl with a pat of butter.

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  • shall6 Mar 3, 2013

    So glad you liked it creecht! And Fllet and Release ... bacon and Old Bay!? Those are two of my husband's favorites. Will definitely be trying that!


  • Fillet and Release Mar 3, 2013

    Great inspiration! Same as my mother’s except trade out the butter for chopped bacon and dust with Old Bay instead of Paprika.
    Headed to the store before the race starts!

    Stripe01 – Yes canned clams, fresh don’t add enough flavor. And if you’re buying fresh clams in Feb. “they ain’t from around here”!

  • creecht Mar 2, 2013

    I made this for supper tonight. It was so thick & creamy. Yum! Now I will never be able to eat canned clam chowder again.

  • shall6 Mar 2, 2013

    I always drain though you could use the liquid if you need to thin it a bit. Sorry I didn't have as much detail on this! I was copying my mom's recipe and it's so second nature to me, I didn't think about it!


  • bhenderson Mar 2, 2013

    Sarah - one more quick question. When you add the potatoes and carrots to the thickened cream, do you drain them first or use the clam juice and water that they were cooked in?

  • shall6 Mar 2, 2013

    That's right creecht ... it's the 6.5 oz. can of clams. Sorry about that bhenderson.


  • creecht Mar 1, 2013

    bhenderson, I purchased the ingredients today to make this recipe, & I bought the 6.5 oz. cans of clams. stripe01, what did you expect?!

  • bhenderson Mar 1, 2013

    What size are the cans of clams?

  • stripe01 Mar 1, 2013

    all that and yet you open a can of clams

  • poppets Mar 1, 2013

    Yum, my daughter will love this one.