• New England Clam Chowder


New England Clam Chowder

By Andrew Zimmern

This classic chowder is rich, creamy and filled with fresh cherrystone clams. It’s a meal in a bowl that’s perfect for feeding a crowd.

New England Clam Chowder


  • 1 bulb fennel, minced
  • 1 Serrano chile, finely minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 pounds cherrystone clams
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon each celery seed and fennel seed, toasted and crushed
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Bring 2 cups of  chicken stock to a boil in a large pot. Add the clams and cook until open. Strain broth through cheesecloth and reserve. Shuck the cooked clams and chop coarsely. Reserve in the broth.

In a small sauté pan, toast the celery seed and fennel seed for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Crush spices in a mortar and pestle.

In a large heavy pot, cook all the vegetables, except potatoes, in the butter over medium heat. When glassy, add the celery seed and fennel seed. Cook for another minute. Add the potatoes, clam juice and all of the stock. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Next, add the clams and the heavy cream, and taste to see if you need salt. Return to low heat, and simmer very gently to thicken the cream a little. Garnish the clam chowder with minced chives and serve with buttered toast.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill.

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