Clam chowder

Clam chowder
Clam Chowder
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New England clam chowder.
Dish details
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Clams
  • New England Clam Chowder
  • Boston Clam Chowder
  • Manhattan Clam Chowder
  • Rhode Island Clam Chowder
  • Multiple others
Other information Soup

Clam chowder is any of several chowders containing clams and broth. Along with the clams, diced potato is common, as are onions, which are occasionally sauteed in the drippings from salt pork or bacon. Celery is frequently used. Other vegetables are uncommon, but small carrot strips might occasionally be added, primarily for color. A garnish of parsley serves the same purpose. Bay leaves are also sometimes used as a garnish and flavoring. It is believed that clams were added to chowder because of their relative ease to collect.[1]

Clam chowder is often served in restaurants on Fridays in order to provide a seafood option for those who abstain from meat every Friday, which used to be a requirement for Catholics before liturgical changes in Vatican II. Though the period of strict abstinence from meat on Fridays was reduced to Lent,[2] the year-round tradition of serving clam chowder on Fridays remains.


Primary styles

Listed geographically from the northern East Coast of the United States southward.

New England clam chowder

Traditional New England clam chowder is thickened with sea biscuits or hardtack crackers, instead of flour.

New England clam chowder is a milk- or cream-based chowder, traditionally made with potatoes, onion, bacon or salt pork, flour or hardtack, and clams. Adding tomatoes to clam chowder was shunned, to the point that a 1939 bill making tomatoes in clam chowder illegal was introduced in the Maine legislature.[3] It is occasionally referred to as Boston Clam Chowder in the Midwest. The traditional New England chowder is made by layering crackers such as Crown Pilot with the other ingredients.[4]

Manhattan clam chowder

Manhattan clam chowder

Manhattan clam chowder has clear broth, plus tomato for red color and flavor. In the 1890s, this chowder was called "New York clam chowder" and "Fulton Fish Market clam chowder." Clam chowder, in its cream-based New England version, has been around since the mid-18th century, and no mention of any Manhattan chowder has been found that predates the 1930s. Many restaurants in northern Rhode Island sell both red and white chowders, while the southern coast favors clear and white chowders. Often they are served alongside clam cakes.

The addition of tomatoes in place of milk was initially the work of Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine. Scornful New Englanders called this modified version "Manhattan-style" clam chowder because, in their view, calling someone a New Yorker is an insult.[5]

Rhode Island clam chowder

Traditional Rhode Island clam chowder has clear broth. Though less popular than cream and tomato-based chowders, clear chowders are still served, especially at long-established New England restaurants and hotels, such as those on Block Island, and on the south coast of the state, where tourists favor white chowders while natives prefer the clear. This traditional clear chowder generally contains quahogs, broth, potatoes, onions, and bacon.

In some parts of the state, a red chowder is served as Rhode Island clam chowder. This red chowder has a tomato broth base and potatoes; unlike Manhattan red chowder, it does not have chunks of tomato, and does not contain other vegetables (such as carrots or beans). This is the recipe served for decades with clamcakes at the memorable establishments like Rocky Point and Crescent Park.

Delaware clam chowder

This variety typically consisted of cubed salt pork that is pre-fried, salt water, potatoes, diced onions, quahogs, butter, salt and pepper. This variety was more common in the early and mid 20th century and likely shares most recent common ancestry with New England clam chowder.

Hatteras clam chowder

Served throughout North Carolina's Outer Banks region, this variation of clam chowder has clear broth, bacon, potatoes, onions, and flour as a thickening agent. It is usually seasoned with copious amounts of white and/or black pepper, but occasionally with chopped green onions or even hot pepper sauce.

Minorcan clam chowder

Minorcan clam chowder is a spicy traditional version found in Florida restaurants near St. Augustine and the northeast corner of the Sunshine State. It has a tomato broth base, with a "secret ingredient", Spanish datil pepper, an extremely hot chili comparable to the habanero. The datil pepper is believed to have been brought to St. Augustine by the Minorcan settlers in the 18th century, and tradition holds among Minorcan descendants that it will only thrive and grow in two places - Minorca, Spain and St. Augustine, Florida.[6]

Other clam chowder variations

Some restaurants also serve their own unique clam chowders that do not fall into any of these five types. Clam chowder is usually served with saltine crackers or small, hexagonal oyster crackers. Throughout the United States, creamy New England-style clam chowder is sometimes served in sourdough bread bowls, especially in San Francisco where sourdough is popular with tourists and has been considered a signature dish since 1849. In Seattle and Portland Smoked Salmon is often added to New England Style Chowder instead of smoked pork.[7][8]

Fish chowder is a similar to clam chowder except that shredded fish, often cod, is substituted for the clams. It is made with cream, fish, and often onions and/or corn. Chowder can be made with both clams and fish then it is both clam and fish chowder.

Except for the substitution of smoked haddock for clams, the chowders are remarkably similar to the traditional Scots broth Cullen Skink.

Long Island Clam Chowder is a variant that is part New England style and part Manhattan style, making it a creamy tomato clam chowder. The name is a geographical pun, noting that the location of Long Island, just like the recipe is about halfway between Manhattan and New England. This variant is popular in many small restaurants across Suffolk County.

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Clam Chowder — Le clam chowder (chaudrée de palourdes américaines (Mercenaria mercenaria)) est une soupe traditionnelle de la région nord est des États Unis (Nouvelle Angleterre). Elle est à base de palourdes américaines (= clam), de pommes de terre, de lait et …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Clam chowder — New England Clam chowder Clam chowder ist eine international bekannte amerikanische Muschelsuppe, die aus großen Venusmuscheln (Quahogs oder Clam genannt) zubereitet wird. Diese Muschelart kommt an der amerikanischen Ostküste vor. Typisch ist die …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • clam chowder — noun chowder containing clams • Hypernyms: ↑chowder • Hyponyms: ↑Manhattan clam chowder, ↑New England clam chowder * * * clam chowder noun Chowder made with clams • • • Main Entry: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • clam chowder — noun A type of chowder made from clams and usually potatoes, with numerous variations …   Wiktionary

  • Clam Chowder — …   Википедия

  • California Clam Chowder — Infobox Album Name = California Clam Chowder Type = studio Artist = Thelonious Monster Released = April 20, 2004 Recorded = Lawnmower Studio, Pasadena Genre = Length = Label = Lakeshore Records Producer = Thelonious Monster Reviews = *Review… …   Wikipedia

  • Manhattan clam chowder — a chowder made from clams, tomatoes, and other vegetables and seasoned with thyme. Cf. New England clam chowder. [1930 35, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • New England clam chowder — a thick chowder made from clams, potatoes, onions, sometimes salt pork, and milk or cream. Cf. Manhattan clam chowder. [1880 85] * * * …   Universalium

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