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Pantry Clam Chowder

(recipe, Meera S.T. Vargo)

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I love clam chowder, and chowder made from fresh clams is a treat. But pantry chowder can be delicious and is so easy. I have had the best luck with Snow's canned clams and clam juice.


  1. 3 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and chopped into ½-inch dice
  2. 2 bottles (8 ounces each) clam juice
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. 2 Tbsp. butter
  5. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  6. 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  7. ¼ cup carrot, finely chopped
  8. 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  9. 1 tsp. fresh or dried thyme
  10. ⅓ cup flour
  11. ½ cup cream
  12. ½ tsp. salt
  13. 2 cans (6 ounces each) minced or chopped clams, with their juice


  1. Place chopped potatoes in a medium saucepan with clam juice and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, just until potatoes are tender. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and thyme. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove bay leaf from potatoes and discard it. Add potato-clam-juice mixture to vegetable-flour mixture. Bring to a simmer. Add cream, salt, and the 2 cans of clams, including the liquid. Bring to a simmer and simmer 3 minutes to marry flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with fresh bread or oyster crackers.


To make ahead, prepare up to the "add cream" stage. Just before serving, add cream, salt, and clams with their juice and simmer briefly before serving.