New England Clam Chowder

Today’s recipe is from North America. It is healthy, delicious and rather easy.

Serves 8


  • 4 dozen clams, scrubbed
  • 125ml water (2 ¼ pints/6 cups)
  • 35g (1¼oz) bacon, diced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 550g (1¼lb) potatoes, cubed
  • 475ml (16fl oz/2 cups) milk, warmed
  • 250ml (8fl oz/1 cup) single cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish


Rinse the clams well in cold water. Drain. Place them in a deep saucepan with the water and bring to boil. Cover and steam the clams for 10 minutes, until the shells open. Remove the pan from the heat.


When the clams have cooled slightly, remove them from their shells. Discard any clams that have not opened. Chop the clams coarsely. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with muslin, and reserve the liquid.


In a large heavy saucepan, fry the bacon until it renders its fat and begins to brown. Add the onions and cook over a low heat for 8 – 10 minutes until softened.


Add the bay leaf, potatoes, and clam cooking liquid. Stir. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 – 10 minutes.


Stir the chopped clams into the mixture in the casserole. Continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Season well with salt and pepper.


Reduce the heat to low and stir in the warmed milk and cream. Simmer gently for 5 minutes more. Discard the bay leaf, taste and adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley to garnish.


If the clams have been dug, purging will help to rid them of sand and stomach contents. Put the clams in a bowl of cold water, sprinkle with 120ml (½ cup) cornmeal and some salt. Stir lightly and let stand in a cool place for 3 – 4 hours.