Clam Chowder


Emeril Lagasse created this creamy chowder, which is rich with clams, potatoes, and corn, based on the ones he ate while growing up in Massachusetts.

Fall River Clam Chowder
Photo: © David Malosh
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
8 to 10

Emeril Lagasse created this rich, creamy recipe based on the chowders he grew up eating in his hometown, Fall River, Massachusetts. He starts the chowder by simmering clams in water; that cooking liquid becomes the broth for the soup. He renders the fat from bacon, then cooks onions, carrots and celery in the bacon fat before returning the broth to the pot and simmering the soup. Potatoes and corn are simmered in the broth, which is seasoned with a touch of cayenne pepper and hot sauce for heat, and Worcestershire sauce and Old Bay seasoning for more depth of flavor. The chowder is thickened somewhat with flour, and half-and-half stirred in at the end along with the cooked clams gives it creamy richness. Lagasse demonstrated how to make this chowder while presenting at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in 2007.


  • 4 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 7 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 medium red potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cobs

  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (preferably Tabasco)

  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat clams and water in a large pot over moderately high heat, and bring to a simmer. Cover pot and cook until clams start to open, about 4 minutes. As clams open, transfer them to a large bowl to cool; discard any clams that do not open. Strain clam cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken broth to yield 7 1/2 cups. Remove clams from their shells and coarsely chop.

  2. Wipe out soup pot and place over moderate heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, 2 teaspoons salt, cayenne and bay leaf. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Stir in clam broth mixture and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, corn, and Old Bay and simmer over moderately low heat until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in half-and-half, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Remove from heat and stir in clams. Discard bay leaf and season chowder with salt and pepper. Ladle chowder into bowls and serve.

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