Chowder comes from the French word "chaudiere," meaning "large copper pot." In Brittany, fishermen would combine their fish in one of these pots, add spices, and share the resulting soup. This custom traveled with the Bretons to Newfoundland and then down to New England.

South County Quahaug Chowder

6 pounds quahaugs
6 cups water
1/4 cup salt pork, cut into tiny cubes
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups cubed potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Scrub quahaugs. Place in large kettle with water. Cover. Place over medium heat until shells open, about 5 minutes. Remove meat from shells and grind into small pieces. Discard shells. Save all liquid; set aside.

Fry salt pork to light brown in large pot. Add onions; fry lightly. Add reserved liquid plus enough water to make 8 cups.

Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Add chopped quahaugs; bring to light boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Serves 6.

Chowder is better made a day ahead.

New England Seafood Chowder

 Serves 8

Whether they feature shellfish, smoked fish or fresh fish, chowders are an essential part of New England cooking. Ours is prepared with a mixture of fresh cod, haddock and halibut, three important North Atlantic ocean varieties. We've made the surprising addition of butternut squash and kale--both popular regional vegetables--to this hearty soup for extra color and texture. Curry powder lends an unexpected bit of spice.

8 bacon slices, chopped

2 large onions, chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

4 8-ounce bottles clam juice

4 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled white potatoes (about 3 pounds)

4 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled butternut squash (about 3 pounds)

2 bay leaves

4 cups chopped kale leaves

5 cups milk

1 cup half and half

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled

3 pounds mixed fresh fish (a choice of cod, halibut, haddock and/or  scrod), cut into 3/4-inch pieces

To render fat, cook chopped bacon in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add chopped onions and sauté until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add curry powder and stir 30 seconds. Mix in bottled clam juice, diced potatoes, diced butternut squash and bay leaves. Simmer 5 minutes. Add chopped kale leaves and simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add 5 cups milk, 1 cup half and half and minced thyme. (Chowder can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.)

Bring chowder to simmer. Add fish and simmer until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Ladle chowder into bowls and serve.

New England Clam Chowder

This is the Culinary Institute of America's version of the American classic, rich and creamy. Paired with a salad and bread, it becomes a hearty meal.


1 1/4 pound canned clams, minced, juices reserved

2-3 cups bottled clam juice

2 bacon slices, minced

1 onion, diced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped

1 pound potatoes, peeled, diced

3 cups heavy cream or half and half

6 tablespoons dry sherry, or to taste

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tabasco sauce, to taste

Worcestershire sauce, to taste

Oyster or saltine crackers, as needed

Drain the clam juice from the minced clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.

Cook the bacon slowly in a soup pot over medium heat until lightly crisp, about 8 minutes.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in the clam juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, add more clam juice to adjust the consistency. Add the bay leaf and fresh thyme.

Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the clams and cream in saucepan and simmer together until the clams are cooked, about 5-8 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, add the clams and cream to the soup base. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the sherry. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Serve in bowls with the crackers on the side.

Corn and Crab Chowder

yield: Makes 4 first-course servings

active time: 25 minutes

total time: 35 minutes

Be sure to use white corn—it's sweeter.


1 16-ounce bag frozen petite white corn (do not thaw), divided

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

1 8-ounce bottle clam juice

4 tablespoons sliced green onions, divided

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided

4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

4 ounces cooked crabmeat, flaked


Reserve 1/4 cup corn. Bring remaining corn and milk to boil in medium saucepan. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Puree mixture in blender. Add clam juice, 3 tablespoons green onions, and 1 teaspoon ginger; puree again until almost smooth. Return puree to saucepan; bring to simmer. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add reserved 1/4 cup corn; sauté 1 minute. Add crab, 1 tablespoon green onions, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 3 teaspoons lemon juice; stir just until warm. Season with salt and pepper. Divide soup among bowls; mound crab mixture in center.

Thick 'n' hearty, creamy white clam chowder is a meal in itself.

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 25 min


1 small onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 (6-1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

1 large potato, peeled and diced

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream


In a soup pot, saute the onion and celery over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Add clams, clam juice, chicken broth, potato, thyme, salt, and pepper; cover and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. In a bowl, dissolve cornstarch in cream; add to soup.

Cook 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring frequently