A Taste of Travel looks at the ways food connects us with a culture and each other. Sharing the recipes and restaurants we have encountered along the way… 


New England Clam Chowder

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes / 1 hour rest

Yield: 6 full Servings

Recipe: Shawnie Kelley’s adaptation from various recipes



4 thick sliced bacon strips, cut into lardons

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, cut into ¼ inch dice

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes- Yukon Gold preferably

4 8-ounce bottles clam juice (or 2 cups of water reserved & strained from steaming clams)

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or a few springs of fresh chopped thyme leaves)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ cups half-and-half

3 6-ounce cans of chopped clams, undrained (reserve juice to add to soup for added clam flavor)

** Add 1 dozen steamed, coarsely chopped fresh clams

kosher salt


In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.

Remove to paper towels to drain and set aside.

Pour off most of the bacon fat except about 2 tablespoons.

Add butter.

Toss in the onions, lightly salt, add celery, and sauté together in the bacon drippings until translucent. 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Stir in the potatoes and clam juice (or reserved clam water), bay leaf, and thyme.

Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and whole milk, whisking until smooth.

Gradually stir into soup to thicken.

Bring to a boil and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in half-and-half, add canned and/or fresh clams and heat thoroughly (but do not boil). About 2 minutes.

Salt to taste.

Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry & remove the bay leaf.

Slowly reheat, being careful not to boil. Top with crumbled bacon bits.

Serve with oyster crackers, bread crisps, or roasted corn fritters

** If you like thicker chowder, but don’t want to use flour, cook the potatoes a bit longer and smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot, leaving the flour out the recipe.