Jasper's Home Style Clam Chowder

Makes 3 quarts; serves 12 as an appetizer or 6-8 as a main course


  • 10 lbs small quahogs or large cherry-stone clams
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 oz meaty salt pork, rind removed, cut into small (⅓") dice (Tip: partially freeze salt pork before use to make it easier to cut)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions (about 12 oz), cut into ½" dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (4 oz), cut into ⅓" dice
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed & chopped (1 tbsp)
  • 1 large +2 small bay leaves
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold, Maine or other all-purpose potatoes, peeled & cut into ½ to ¾" dice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher or sea salt if needed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • common crackers or oyster crackers (optional)

Special Equipment

  • 4-6-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid
  • fine strainer


  1. Scrub the clams and rinse well. Place them in a large pot, add the water, cover, and turn the heat to high. Once you see a little steam escape from the pot, let the clams cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly move the clams around in the pot so they will cook evenly, then cover and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the clams open
  2. Pour off the broth and reserve. After it has settled a bit, strain the broth, leaving the bottom ½" of broth (and sediment) in the container. You should have about 4 cups. Remove the clams from the shells, place in a bowl, and refrigerate until cold
  3. Dice the clams into small (⅓ -½") pieces. Cover and refrigerate
  4. Rinse and dry the pot and heat over low heat. Add the salt pork and cook until crispy and brown. Add the butter, onions, garlic, celery, thyme, and bay leaf and sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes, until the onions are softened but not browned
  5. Add the potatoes and 4 cups reserved clam broth. The broth should just barely cover the potatoes; if it doesn't, add more broth or water. Turn the heat to high, cover the pot, and boil vigorously for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft on the outside but still firm in the center. Smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot and stir them into the chowder to lightly thicken it
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream and diced clams. Season with black pepper; you may not need salt (the clams usually add enough of their own). If you are serving the chowder within the hour, just let it sit and "cure." Otherwise, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate it; cover it after it has chilled
  7. When ready to serve, reheat the chowder slowly over medium heat; do not let it boil. Ladle into cups or bowls and sprinkle with the parsley

Reprinted from "The Summer Shack Cookbook" with permission from Jasper White