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Kath’s Clam Chowder

February 12, 2010

Although clam chowder is best when made with fresh clams, my “pantry” clam chowder, made with canned clams, is pretty darn good. Look for canned clams that are as natural as possible—no MSG, for example. Last night I used 3 cans (6.5 oz. each) of Snow’s Chopped Clams. Sometimes I use 2 (10 oz. each) cans of baby clams instead.

I always use russet potatoes for this clam chowder. They help to thicken the chowder a bit.

A lot of New England style clam chowder recipes call for half and half or cream; I actually prefer clam chowder made with milk.

And, in my humble opinion, celery does not belong in New England clam chowder!

Kath’s Clam Chowder

(printable recipe)

Serves 4


3 slices bacon

3 large russet potatoes (about 2 ¼ – 2 ½ pounds total), cut in ¾-inch dice

1 cup chopped onions

3 (6.5 oz each) cans chopped clams, drained; reserve the clam liquid

1 tsp. marjoram (optional—not essential if you don’t have it)

1 clove garlic, pressed with a garlic press

3 cups whole milk

½ teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste

Salt, to taste


1. Fry the bacon very slowly over low heat in a large kettle. You want to render the fat without getting a bunch of browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

2. While the bacon is cooking, start cutting the onions and potatoes. You can put them both in a large bowl.

3. When the bacon’s done, remove it from the pan. (If you’re not done cutting the onions and potatoes, remove the pan from the heat until you are ready to add them.)

4. Put the onions, potatoes, and marjoram in the pan. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.

5. Drain the clams, reserving the clam liquid.

6. Pour the clam liquid into the pot. Stir well; cover and simmer until the potatoes are very done—almost falling apart. This takes about 15 – 20 minutes.

7. Add the milk, garlic, Tabasco and reserved clams. Simmer until hot.

8. Crumble the reserved bacon into the soup.

9. Taste for seasoning. I added ½ teaspoon salt. After tasting again, I decided it needed more, so I added another ½ teaspoon.

Serve with salad and a good crusty bread.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. LittleLionMan permalink
    October 22, 2012 6:40 pm

    Kath: yours was a really good recipe and a good idea. Since everyone makes a recipe their own, I did add a chopped celery stalk (sorry I disagree with you on this!), and threw in the garlic with the potato and onion saute. I added a chicken boullion cube with the clam juice, and added a bit of celery salt at the end. It was great, quick and easy. Thanks for posting.

  2. October 26, 2020 5:16 am

    Anybody finding those cans of Snow’s Chopped Clams contain fewer clams than they used to. I made linguini with clams yesterday, except that there weren’t very many clams. Very disappointing.

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