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Who doesn't love this classic soup!
Serves 6-8


4 pounds cherrystone clams, scrubbed
1/2 cup vermouth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh chives
Oyster crackers or Fresh Baguette


Posted by Elliott S. Published See Elliott S.'s 7 projects »
  • Step 1

    Bring clams, vermouth and 2 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.

  • Step 2

    Chop clams into bite-size pieces. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Add water if needed to measure 4 cups.

    DO AHEAD Clams and broth can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

  • Step 3

    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.

  • Step 4

    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.

  • Step 5

    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.

  • Step 6

    DO AHEAD Base can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Keep clams chilled. Bring base to a simmer before continuing.

  • Step 7

    Remove base from heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in reserved clams and cream. Season with salt, if needed (clams' brininess varies), and pepper.

  • Step 8

    Divide chowder among bowls. Garnish with chives, and serve with bread or crackers.

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