Our Favorite New England-Style Clam Chowder Recipe

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Ahoy, Seafoodies!

In honor of #SeafoodSunday, let’s revisit a fisherman’s favorite, New England-Style Clam Chowder. We think this hearty soup makes the perfect lunch or light dinner for early spring days when there’s still some bite in the air. Juicy clams, chunky potatoes, aromatic vegetables and a heavenly broth—what’s not to love?

This satisfying chowder has all the flavor of the classic comfort food but has been lightened-up with some low-fat milk, so you can enjoy it guilt-free! Partially puréeing the simmered potato-vegetable mixture lends a rich texture without the need for additional cream. An immersion blender makes this dish a snap, but you also can purée a portion of the soup in a traditional blender, then return to the pot. We know there are some strong opinions out there about “proper” chowder consistency—some prefer a stick-to-the-ribs stew; others, a thinner soup. You can tailor this recipe to your taste—it’s awesome no matter how you blend it!  

We love clams! If you keep a few cans of clams in the pantry, they’re so easy to toss into soups, pastas and dips whenever you want a flavorful burst of nutrition. Of course, we love fresh clams, too — just soak for 20 minutes, then steam until they open. The key is not to overcook them. Most recipes, like this one, call for adding clams toward the end of cooking time.

In addition to providing great taste and convenience, clams are a seafood superfood! Like other shellfish in the mollusk group, clams are low in fat, full of lean protein and packed with healthful nutrients. A 3-ounce serving of clams provides off-the-charts amounts of vitamin B-12 for brain health, two-thirds of your daily iron requirement to keep your energy up, and moderate amounts of immune-boosters like selenium, vitamin C and zinc. They’re also a good source of magnesium, potassium and anti-inflammatory omega-3s, which help us maintain our overall well-being.

This chowder is an extremely tasty way to fit in your 2 to 3 servings of seafood per week recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Plus, it’s a comfort food you can really feel good about serving your family. Break out your oyster crackers, some crusty bread or a bread bowl, and soup’s on!

This recipe is a favorite Dish on Fish “Seafood Supper Club” recipe. For more great original recipes, download the Dish on Fish e-cookbook, “Everyday Seafood Recipes.” 

December Meal Plan: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

New England-Style Clam Chowder

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8


    2 tablespoons olive oil1 medium onion, finely diced3 celery stalks, finely diced¾ cup low-fat milk¾ cup half-and-half3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in clam juice (juice reserved)1½ cups chicken broth1 lb. russet or Yukon potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes1 bay leaf½ teaspoon smoked salt¼ teaspoon black pepper (or to desired taste)Crusty sourdough bread or oyster crackers, as accompaniment


    Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery; sauté until vegetables are tender and translucent, about 2 minutes.While vegetables are cooking, put milk, half-and-half and flour into a medium bowl and mix until combined.Add milk mixture, reserved clam juice, broth, potatoes, bay leaf, smoked salt and pepper to pot. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until potatoes are fork-tender and the soup thickens, about 20 minutes.Remove bay leaf. Partially blend the soup using an immersion blender; puree until soup reaches desired consistency.Add clams and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until clams are firm and cooked through.Serve chowder with crusty sourdough bread or oyster crackers.


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