Recipe: Clam Chowder


We were told that whilst in San Francisco we absolutely must discover everything there is to know about Clam Chowder. We tried New England style ones, Manhattan Style versions and even a mix of the two. But our favourite was the one served up to us at Hog Island Oyster Co. It's rich, indulgent and unbelievable. Owner John Finger and Head Chef Chris shared the recipe with us so to celebrate we've given it a go too!


  • 8 medium sized waxy potatoes
  • 1 leeks
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 250 g smoky bacon
  • 2.5 kg clams
  • 1 l double cream
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley

Step 1

Clean The Clams

Empty the clams into a sink full of cold water and gently roll them about to clean. Remove any ones with broken shells.

Step 2

Boil The Spuds

Peel the potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Submerge in a pan of cold salted water, then heat to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes until just cooked, but not collapsing. Drain in a colander and leave to cool.

Step 3

Cook The Base

Wash and finely chop the celery, leek, carrot and thyme. Chop the bacon into tiny pieces. Fry the thyme in the butter and add the bacon to cook gently so that the fat renders and the meat becomes crispy. Toss in the chopped veg and sweat, with the lid on, for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Season well, mix with the cooked potatoes and then leave to cool.

Step 4

Make The Soup

Place the clams into a massive saucepan over a high heat. Spoon in the base mixture around the clams with a tiny splash of water. Stick on a lid and cook fro 2-3 minutes until the clams have opened.

Step 5

Finish The Sauce

Remove any clams that haven't opened and discard. Pour in the double cream, give the pan a swill and heat until bubbling and piping hot right through.

Step 6


Serve the soup into the bowl and chop up some fresh parsley. Sprinkle over the top and serve immediately with plenty of fresh sourdough bread to mop up the juices. (Note: if you do it in smaller batches it can be easier!)

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