I’m not sure where my mom learned to make clam chowder. She did grow up for a while in port city Hamburg, Germany. But, somehow, I think the clam chowder came much later (did they invent it in New England or just perfect it?). I’ll have to ask her someday, but wherever she learned it, she learned well. My mom’s clam chowder was definitely one of my top five favorite things she cooked.

It wasn’t until I was cooking on my own that I decided it was time to improve it. (Luckily, my mom doesn’t read my blog so she’ll never know I said that.) Real New Englanders know that pudding-thick, flowery chowder is for amateurs — her clam chowder is the perfect consistency, as real clam chowder is a creamy soup with only a slightly thickened broth. Hers had the right clam to potato ratio. Sometimes she would use minced clams when she couldn’t find whole ones. That’s a no-no.

I could only think of one way to ‘improve’ her clam chowder: more seafood. So my ‘improved’ recipe for seafood chowder is basically my mom’s clam chowder with shrimp, mussels and scallops. Thanks mom (she’s so proud).

I always make a large batch at a time and freeze it in smaller portions. A great way to make the stock is to steam the live clams and reserve the juice. That’s also the best way to get fresh whole clam meat for the chowder.

Seafood Chowder

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 45m
  • Serves: 4

What's in it:

  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 c clams
  • 1 c bay scallops
  • 1 c bay shrimp
  • 1 pt heavy cream
  • 8 c fish stock or clam juice or combination (best)
  • 2 c red potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c parsley, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3/4 lb of live mussels cleaned

How to make it:

  1. In a large pot cook bacon until fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside. Lower heat to medium and add butter.
  2. Once the butter is fully melted, add flour and whisk continually until golden. Toss in the onions, celery, some salt & peppers and stir until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the stock, potatoes, bacon and half the parsley. Bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes have been cooked (10-20 minutes depending on how big the chunks are).
  4. Let loose the shrimp and scallops in the boiling broth, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the heavy cream.
  5. Add the mussels and put a lid on top for 5 minutes max.
  6. Lift the lid and it’s ready to serve with parsley as a garnish and a couple of dashes of Tabasco.