New England Clam Chowder

I, like a lot of other people, have never been able to work my way through the entirety of Moby Dick. I think most of us have a vague idea of what it’s about, and the ability to quote a line or two without actually knowing who says them or giving any context, but you sound smart and that’s the whole point. If you have managed to read the famous Melville classic, then congratulations. Even if you haven’t, the story of the sea evokes a lot of seaside sentiments and cravings for all things nautical. In all of its density, there is an entire chapter in this work dedicated to the description of the clam chowder that Ishmael and Queequeg eat in a small inn. This dish is warm, rich, creamy, and has that nod to the sea that makes it perfect for this novel.

The Quote

“It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded shrimp biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt.”

The Recipe


4 center-cut bacon strips

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup water

1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice

3 teaspoons reduced-sodium chicken bouillon granules

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups fat-free half-and-half, divided

2 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) chopped clams, undrained


In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Saute celery and onion in the drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, water, clam juice, bouillon, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in clams and remaining half-and-half; heat through (do not boil). Crumble the cooked bacon; sprinkle over each serving.


Original recipe can be found here.


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