New England Clam Chowder

By February 26, 2012

Submitted by Paul W.M.

When you hear of Clam Chowder you may think of a soft shell clam. Here in New England it is the quahog that is used.  A clam is a soft shelled, while the quahog is a hard shelled.  The shellfish that Rhode Islanders call a quahog possesses an impressive variety of names, and even the word “quahog” (which comes from the Narragansett Indian name “poquauhock”) has an alternate spelling, “quahaug,” Quahogs are simply called “hard clams” or “hard-shell clams.”

Please forgive me because I cook for taste and not by volume, meaning that I don’t hold to the measurements state here.


  • 1/4 lb       Salt pork
  • 3 Large      onions
  • 1 small      carrot
  • 4-5 lbs      potatoes
  • 1 can        Crushed Tomatoes “28oz”   Optional to make a Manhattan Chowder
  • 1/4 bushel   Clams “Quahogs”     “In shell”   I want to see my soap.
  • Clam broth or juice
  • 4 storks     Celery
  • 3 tlsp       Egyptian onions
  • 3 tlsp       Lovage
  • 2 tlsp       Oyster sauce
  • Water        “As needed”

Take the salt pork and dice up, then render down so as it becomes crisp.  I leave everything in but some may wish to take the crisp pork out.  While this is doing you can prepare the veggies.  Onions and celery are diced, potatoes and wash then cubed and the carrot washed and shredded.  Carrot give a touch of sweetness also, I do not peel the potatoes or carrot.  The skins has the nutrients in them.

I buy my quahogs right in its shell.  You either open them by hand of you can steam them enough that their shells open.  Extract its meat and save the broth.  You also can buy them already husked.  The broth is where additional flavor comes from. Using my Kitchen Aid grinder attachment to grind up the quahogs and put them aside. This sounds like a lot of work and lot of time but neither is correct.  Normally prep time is about 15-20 minutes, but will take longer if you do everything all together.  NOTE: I buy a bushel of quahog then open and prepare them for freezing.  This is where the time saving comes in.  What’s the old saying?  Pay me now or pay me later.

The Lovage and Egyptian Onions are herbs that I grow, dehydrate and process them into two grades.  One a culinary grade while the other a soup grade.  These may be available at your super market.  If not, I know they can be bought online.  Not only giving additional flavor, but adds color to your presentation.

Now put all ingredients into you cooker.  You may need to add water after you put the broth in so as to bring the liquid level just over the top of your ingredients.  Close lid, set it to SOUP and clean up the kitchen while its cooking.  Time frame 25-30 minutes.  You may need to adjust due to altitude and/or geographic location.

One additional thing that I may do to thicken is using either corn starch, flour or Arrow root.  If the end results was a little watery then I may use.

I serve with chowder either corn bread, clam cakes or a good Italian or French garlic bread. Also with a good cold glass of white wine.

FYI: I made both a clear and a Manhattan chowder for our daughter’s wedding shower and the theme was Summer and Beach.  Boy did that go well.  ENJOY!!!

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3 Responses to “New England Clam Chowder”

  1. ellery says:

    So what would be some suitable substitutes for lovage? Egyptian onions? Are those scallions or vidalias? Note that it must be changed to read 4-5 potatoes. (5lbs. would actually be dangerous to cook. Too full.)

    I’m from that area (born in RI, in fact) and thought I’d add that they’re pronounced KO-hogs. Would rhyme with NO-hogs. Tomatoes make that a Manhattan Clam Chowder and it isn’t nearly as good. If you’re bothering to shuck your own quahogs, don’t mask the flavor with canned tomatoes.


    James Hathaway Reply:

    Lovage is an herb — it looks like celery leaves and tastes like celery, only considerably stronger. Use celery leaves (celery being a standard ingredient, of course, in clam chowder.


  2. Davidson Chan says:

    Hi Paul,

    I tried this recipe and the 4-5 lbs. of potatoes alone almost fills my 6 quart Instant Pot. There is no room for the other ingredients. Are you sure you didn’t mean 4-5 potatoes?

    Just need to clarify.



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