Jennifer Causey
Active Time
30 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 20 Mins
Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

A classic bowl of New England clam chowder--in all of its starchy, creamy, comforting glory--can add up to over half a day's sodium allowance and almost half a day's saturated fat. To build all the great flavor with less sodium than store-bought clam juice, we make a quick homemade clam stock. It draws lots of clam flavor from the shells, while helping slash more than half the salt. Your brain will also benefit from every bit of the clams' vitamin B12 goodness (low levels are associated with increased risk for Alzheimer's and dementia), with one serving delivering 100 percent of your daily goal. Seek the freshest claims from your local fishmonger; their shells should be closed or just slightly open before cooking. Potatoes are both the thickening agent and creamy base here, boosting fiber and negating the need for heavy cream. Just 1/2 cup of half-and-half enhances the richness of this East Coast classic, leaving plenty of room for sprinkling oyster crackers on top.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring clams and 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high. Cook until clams open, 8 to 10 minutes. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Using a large slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large baking sheet lined with paper towels; set cooking liquid aside. Let clams stand until cool enough to handle. Pull meat from shells; discard shells. Coarsely chop clam meat and set aside.

Step 2

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add reserved clam cooking liquid, potatoes, miso, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf; cook until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Step 3

Transfer 2 cups of the chowder to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped, about 6 times. Stir mixture into remaining chowder.

Step 4

Whisk together cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into chowder; bring to a boil over medium-high. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf. Stir in clam meat and half-and-half until combined. Divide chowder evenly among 6 bowls. Top with chives.

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