Seattle Clam Chowder

Seattle Clam Chowder, serves 8

When I was growing up in the Pacific Northwest, a special family weekend included clamming for goey ducks (a big clam used in chowders) very early in the morning and returning in time for a fried clam breakfast. As little kids, we used to wait until the very last moment to race the tide back in; part of the thrill of clamming was that we sometimes got stranded out too far, up to our waist in water, and had to rescued. On my return visits to Seattle, I try to include a clamming expedition.
My version differs from many traditional recipes in that there is no cream and no bacon. I guarantee this is so delicious these ingredients are not missed.

48 clams, chowder or razor
2 cups clam broth
1 ½ pounds potatoes
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups skim milk
Salt and pepper

  1. Clean clam shells of sand and place in a large pot with 2” of water. Bring to a rolling boil until clams open (It is also possible to purchase clams already shelled. If you are so lucky, proceed immediately to Step 3. If they have not come with enough of their own liquid make up the difference with store bought clam juice).
  2. Drain the clams and strain the liquid through a cheesecloth to filter out sand particles. The liquid should be about 2 cups. With a sharp knife, remove the clams from their shells.
  3. Put clams in a blender or food processor to chop coarsely.
  4. Cut peeled potatoes into bite-sized chunks.
  5. In the margarine or butter, brown the chopped onions in a large kettle, Add the clam broth, potatoes, chopped clams. Simmer for 35 minutes.
  6. Add milk and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and serve hot.

This freezes well. During the winter, I often double or triple this recipe so I have something warm on hand when friends drop in unexpectedly.

This is a recipe from my book The Good Food Compendium - An indispensable guide to sensible nutrition and eating pleasures for those who care about fine fare and wholesome living.