New England Clam Chowder

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It’s nearly Independence Day, and nowhere celebrates it better than Cape Cod. Our family is deeply rooted here–our ancestors traveled here nearly 400 years ago, even some on the Mayflower, seeking their own freedom. Though we aren’t lucky enough to call this beautiful place our home year round, we do spend each summer here in a rambling cottage on the Bass River. Summer in Cape Cod is about grandparents and cousins, swimming and fishing, boating and catching crabs. It’s about poison ivy and mosquito bites, picking blueberries and making jam, and sipping cocktails out on the dock by the water. It’s about thunderstorms and sweltering humidity, long walks and long talks, and scrabble games around the table.

And summer in Cape Cod is also about clam chowder–CHOW-dah is the correct pronunciation, in case you were wondering. We used to eat it with abandon in all its creamy, bacon-laden glory. But then my daughter became a pescetarian. Fish and shellfish were okay to eat, but bacon, not so much. And then I found out that I had celiac disease, and and since most chowders are thickened with a roux, well…too bad for me. So now, the only chowder we can enjoy is purely the homemade variety.

Of course, homemade chowder tastes much, much better than any of the so-called award winning restaurant chowder anyway.  And luckily, it really isn’t that hard to make. Most fishmongers around these parts sell freshly shucked, chopped clams. But canned clams will work in a pinch too. Add some chopped potatoes and cream and you’re in business. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to spend summah heah on the Cape, you can get a taste of real, New England chowdah wherever you may roam (and you can avoid the contagious accent too). I hope you have a lovely Independence Day, however you celebrate it! Also, head on over to I AM J THE BLOG to see her July Feature of the Month (it’s ME). 

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!  ~Daniel Webster 

5 from 1 reviews
New England Clam Chowder
 
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This recipe is adapted from The Cape Cod Table by Lora Brody. Though it is loaded with rich flavor, you may find it to be on the thinner side, especially if you are used to eating restaurant or canned chowder. If that's the case, feel free to thicken it with a bit more gf flour.
Serves: serves 8 generously
Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped into medium dice
  • 3 stalks celery (with leaves), rinsed and cut into small dice
  • 4 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 4 cups bottled clam juice
  • 1½ pints (3 cups) chopped fresh clams, drained, liquid reserved
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups light cream
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour blend
  • Cooked bacon, crumbled for garnish (optional)
  • Parsley, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and translucent.
  2. Add potatoes, clam juice and the reserved liquid from the clams. Raise heat, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Make a slurry by whisking the flour blend with ¼ cup cold water. Whisk it slowly into the soup so no lumps form.
  4. Stir in milk and cream and cook for 5 minutes without letting it come to a boil. Add the clams and cook for 5 minutes more, still not allowing it to boil.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with bacon and parsley, if desired. Serve immediately with gluten-free crackers.

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8 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to try this! My summer experience on Cape Cod won’t be authentic without some chowdah and a lahbstah roll 😉

  2. Sarah Curry says:

    Hi, Alison!
    This is Sarah the dietitian from HealthCare Partners. I adore your site and send all my patients with celiac disease here. The site is gorgeous and the recipes are consistently good. It’s my first go-to when my gluten-free friends come over for dinner. Love seeing what you’ve done with it. When’s the cookbook coming out?? 🙂

    Sarah Curry, MS, RD, CSSD

    1. Sarah!! I was JUST thinking about you the other day (I think I need a follow up! lol!). Thanks so much for your kind words…and I’ll keep you posted on the cookbook. HA!

  3. Giantfan70 says:

    Thanks for inspiring yet another batch of GF NE Clam Chowdah. Very appropiate as we sit down to watch the Pats whoop up on the Seahawks.

  4. This recipe is amazing! I made a few changes to work with dietary restrictions and preferences. I used 2 cups of clam juice (2 bottles) instead of 4 cups, 16 oz. Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth, 2 cups 2% milk instead of whole milk, and canned, minced clams. Also, being from Maine, we prefer our “chowdah” thinner rather than thick so the 2% milk substitution was great.

  5. Joy Morse says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely blog and the very good recipes. In addition to needing to eat gluten free I’m on dialysis and must limit potato consumption. I made your clam chowder and substituted cauliflower in the place of potatoes. Also use d heavy cream instead of the milk and cream. I’m 79yrs old and have to rely on others to shop for me and must use whatever I have on hand.
    The resultant clam chowder was delicious and a treat for me. Next time I’ll use more clams but am more than happy with our clam chowder today.

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