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Chef Jason Santos’ New England Clam Chowder


½ cup raw bacon, minced
4 tbl. butter
¼ cup celery, medium diced
¼ cup onion, medium diced
¼ cup carrot, medium diced
¼ cup fennel, medium diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 ea. bay leaf
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups clam juice
2 cups quahog meat, large diced
½ lb. idaho potatoes, peeled, diced & cooked separate until just cooked
2 tbl. finely chopped parsley leaves
2 tbl. finely chopped fresh chives
1-2 cups heavy cream

¼ cup black pepper bacon bits
1 cup smoked oyster crackers
2 tbl. chives, finely minced


Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat.

Add bacon and cook until bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add vegetables, thyme and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown).

Gradually whisk in clam juice.

Add quahog meat.

Simmer chowder 10-15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently.

Finish with fresh herbs. Cool chowder base until ready to use. When you are ready to use, heat with enough heavy cream until desired consistency and re-season if necessary.

Black Pepper Bacon Bits
1 cup bacon bits
1 tsp. + ½ tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Mix bacon with black pepper and spread on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. Strain fat then toss in an additional ½ tsp black pepper. Store at room temperature

Smoked Oyster Crackers
2 cups oyster crackers
2 tbl. butter, melted
Smoked salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix smoked salt and butter in a small pot and melt. Place crackers in a medium-sized bowl, pour mixture over crackers and toss until all crackers are coated. Bake for 4-6 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool.