Souper Bowl VI – New England Clam Chowder


Adapted from Bon Appétit via

My husband and I have been ‘celebrating’ the Super Bowl for seven years now, and our tradition has been to make a soup (hence, ‘Souper Bowl’), fry up some wings, and curl up in the couch to watch the game until I inevitably drift off to sleep halfway through the third quarter.  Sometimes we throw in a little something extra, but the soup and wings are our staples.  Last year was the exception – we hosted a Mardi Gras themed gathering and served jambalaya, crab cakes, and a king cake – washed down with Abita Ambers.  This year, we went back to basics, down to me dozing off.  To my defense, we are in Atlantic Standard Time – one full hour before the US East coast at this time of the year!

Remembering the Soups…

  • 2005 – Beer and Cheese soup (partial fail)
  • 2006 – Corn and crab chowder (WIN!)
  • 2007 – Tomato, sausage and spinach soup (WIN!)
  • 2008 – Corn & crab chowder redux (WIN!)
  • 2009 – Andalusian gazpacho (WIN!)

This year, our winning soup was a New England clam chowder.  I love clam chowder and cannot even remember when was the last time I had some.  It wasn’t difficult to make at all!  The recipe I used and will continue to use is based on Bon Appetit’s 2000 version, conveniently reprinted by the folks at  All the ingredients are easy to obtain at the regular grocery store – we used canned baby clams.

  • Dice the equivalent of 1 pound of potatoes in 1/2” cubes.  The recipe calls for russets but I had a combination of red-skinned and Yukon.  I used medium three potatoes in total.
  • Set the potatoes to boil in 3 cups (bottles) of clam juice.  Since it is clam chowder, I don’t think there’s a substitute for this one!  After ten minutes, remove from heat.
While the potatoes are boiling away, melt in your soup pot two tablespoons of butter and render the fat of four chopped slices of bacon.  When the bacon is starting to get brown, add the following items and cook until soft:
  • 1 1/2 cup of finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup of leeks, whites and light green parts thinly sliced (ajo puerro)
  • 1 1/4 cups of finely diced celery
  • 2 bay leaves

Once the veggies are soft, add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and cook for two minutes.  This isn’t meant to be a savory roux – just a thickening agent.  The flour shouldn’t pick up any color.


Open two 10.5 oz cans of clams, and reserve the liquid.  Add this extra clam juice to the soup pot, slowly whisking it into vegetables mixture.  Add the potatoes in the clam juice, the clams,1 cup of whole milk (the recipe called for half-and-half – I didn’t miss the extra creaminess), and 1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce.  Simmer for about five minutes, and then adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Allow to simmer uncovered for about twenty minutes, stirring frequently.  The flour might lodge at the bottom of the soup pot and we want to separate it.  The longer the soup simmers, the more it will reduce.  Personally, I like my chowder chunky so I waited at least half an hour before serving it.

We noshed on oven-baked wings (a sign of maturity?) with a coating of butter and hot sauce (nah!) and homemade blue brie cheese dip while the soup finished simmering.  I had a small wheel of cheese in my fridge since the holidays and put together a quick dip with a tablespoon of mayo and eyeballed amounts of light sour cream.  The brie was a lot milder than the ‘regular’ Danish blue cheese and made for a smoother dip (and future salad dressing for the rest of the week).

New England Clam Chowder 2

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

4 Responses to “Souper Bowl VI – New England Clam Chowder”

  1. Apicius' Apprentice
    February 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Hehehe! SOUPER bowl :p I’ve never tried making clam chowder from scratch. You make it look so easy (and delicious)! I really do need to take the training wheels off and try this…

  2. Ben
    February 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    I love the idea of a souper bowl. This chowder looks so tasty!

  3. Ruby
    February 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Looks yummy – I’m going to try this! Of course, after living in San Francisco for 3 years, I adopted certain habits, so I’ll be putting this in bread bowls. 🙂 Oh, and btw, a Mardi Gras party is definitely on my list too!


  1. Gumbo Ya Ya with Crabmeat| Great Food 360˚ - February 17, 2012

    […] a recap of the soups we’ve enjoyed through the years in last year’s SOUPer Bowl entry, New England Clam Chowder (oh, the irony).  Still bitter over the outcome of the playoffs for my beloved Saints, I decided […]

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