Dining In: Clam Chowder

A great chowder that’s brothy and full of clams.

By Chef David Lapham

I’ll never forget my first taste of clam chowder. Our family friend Alice, a New England native, had made a pot for us. Alice later shared her recipe with my mother, who cooked it often for my brother and me. Alice’s chowder was redolent of salt pork and onions, with a light, milky base and perfectly chewy clams.

Restaurants and lobster pounds across New England prepare clam chowder in different ways. Many recipes call for flour (in the form of a roux) as a thickener. The more flour added, the thicker the chowder will be. Alice’s version, which I’ve re-created below, will always be my favorite. And like any good soup, it’s so much better the next day.

Clam Chowder

24     cherrystone or large steamer clams, scrubbed of any grit

1/3    cup dry white wine

1/4    lb salt pork or bacon, diced

1       medium onion, diced

1       stalk celery, diced

6       Russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced

1       quart whole milk

1       pint heavy cream or half-and-half

1       bottle clam juice (if needed)*

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Chopped parsley and oyster crackers for garnish

In a saucepan, add wine to clams, then cover, and cook over medium heat until they open. Remove clams from pan, extract the meat and roughly chop. Set aside. Pour broth left in saucepan into a bowl, making sure to leave any sediment in the saucepan; set broth aside.

In a sauté pan, cook salt pork over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels; leave remaining fat in the pan. Cook onions and celery in the same pan over medium heat, about 7 minutes.

In a soup pot, cover potatoes with the reserved clam broth and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt pork, onion, celery, clams, milk and cream. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking 15 minutes, but do not boil.

Taste for seasoning. Serve with chopped parsley and oyster crackers.

Serves 8 to 10.

*Add the bottled clam juice to the potatoes if your steamed clams don’t yield enough juice to cover them.

RCI affiliated resorts on Cape Cod include:
Courtyard Resort D086
460 Main St., Hyannis
The Cove at Yarmouth 1968
183 Main St., West Yarmouth
Pier 7 Condominiums 3018
711 Main St., South Yarmouth
For member reviews and additional resort listings, visit RCI.com or call 800-338-7777 (Weeks) or 877-968-7476 (Points). Club Members, please call your specific Club or RCI telephone number.

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Non-RCI affiliated resorts:
Land’s End Inn
22 Commercial St., Provincetown; 508-487-0706; landsendinn.com; doubles from $255 a night
Captain’s House Inn
369–377 Old Harbor Rd., Chatham; 508-945-0127; captainshouseinn.com; doubles from $185 a night
  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: Winter 2014