Clam Chowder- Or is it Soup?

Soup Season is here for awhile, while the East seems to be feeling a little warmer than normal this time of year , here on the West coast it’s nice and chilly, or I should say chilly and gloomy. 

We aren’t getting the rain like we need still, but snowfall in the mountains actaully contributes to some of the years water as it melts during the spring. Better than nothing of course, but hopefully instead of just dark and gloomy days, the weather drops rain on us as well. Otherwise , bring on the sun! No, seriously bring on the rain we can’t repeat another disastrous fire season as the last! 

Soups, let get to it. Everyone knows chicken noodle, rice, beef stew, an array of vegetable soups, minestrone, the list goes on. One soup though,  I have never made until this week was Clam chowder, or is that really a soup? The differences between soup and chowder aren’t much it seems, did you know Chowder came from a french word, which was the named by fisherman in which consisted of the days catch cooked with other rooted vegetables? Chowder is rich and creamy, with chunks of vegetables. This describes a bundle of soups as it is, I make mine rich and creamy, yet soup/chowder. Which is it?  

Who knows, in other words I have no idea what the difference is between the two , so today’s  “soup” is Clam Chowder.


Clam Chowder
Yields 12
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  1. 1 cup chopped cooked bacon
  2. 1 cup onions diced
  3. 2 stalks celery diced
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  6. 1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice
  7. 4 cups milk
  8. 1lb potatoes, peeled and diced
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  12. 1/2 tsp. thyme
  13. 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  14. 2 cups chopped clams ( canned)
  1. In a large pot add diced bacon and cook until crispy. Once it's done trasnfer to paper towel and rack to cool and drain. You want a little bacon grease left in the pan, if it's too much take some out and set aside.
  2. Keeping on medium heat, add onion, celery and garlic, and cook until celery is soft and onion is nearly see through. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and stir till well mixed. Add in everything up until the clams and cook until it reaches a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. When the potatoes are soft stir in the clams and cook for another 15 minutes.
  1. You can cook this in a slow cooker, cook the bacon in the pan, then onions celery and garlic. Simply throw it all into the slower cooker, cook on meduim for 4 hours Check the potatoes in the last hour, if soft add in the clams and finish out 30 minutes - or turn to low for the hour. My cooker runs hot so time may vary.
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28 thoughts on “Clam Chowder- Or is it Soup?

  1. Susan Mahlburg

    This looks so good! I can’t have clams (allergy … woe is me) but I love the idea of using canned clams to cut down on contamination for those of us who are allergy prone. I’d never thought of that before, but just might be able to get away with making this for my hubby. I’m sure he would enjoy the treat.

    • MelanieMelanie Post author

      I’ve used fresh before, but it’s not always an option! if you just leave out the clams in half the batch it pretty much becomes potato soup ( add a bit more bacon to spruce that baby up! ) Then use clams in the other half for the hubs! Win – Win!

  2. Scott

    Merriam Webster defines it correctly:

    a soup or stew of seafood (as clams or fish) usually made with milk or tomatoes, salt pork, onions, and other vegetables (as potatoes)

    Key difference is chowder is seafood-based. Corn chowder is a thick corn soup.

  3. Debby Payne

    Sounds awesome – always wanted to make it, but good idea to make potato then add clams to mine – I Like IT!!

  4. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    You made me laugh because I always say that chowder is just a fancy name for soup. Either way, clam chowder is a New England classic and your recipe sounds spot on 🙂

    • MelanieMelanie Post author

      Yes it would! Any starch, if you are familiar with cooking with it !You can use flour as well but I aimed for gluten free!

  5. Pam

    I love clam chowder but I haven’t had it in forever. This looks so yummy, perfect for the cold weather!

  6. Carlee C

    Whatever it is, you have me craving it now. The weather has finally cooled down a little here in Florida and Clam Chowder would be a perfect addition to a winter meal.

  7. Pam

    This is one of my mom’s favorite things. And this just looks delicious. I will be visiting her soon and I am going to make this for her and enough that she can freeze some. She will love it.

  8. Ann Bacciaglia

    Clam chowder is one of my favorites in the winter. This looks like a delicious recipe for me to try this weekend. I am sure my kids will love it.

  9. Lisa Rios

    Soups are always great choice for winter season to keep yourself warm & healthy & this looks like a yummy soup that is easy to prepare. We love anything with Chicken, so I would love to try this recipe with some spicy chicken.

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