Did you know that you can make a restaurant-quality clam chowder in less than 30 minutes? It’s easier than you might think!
Bratten’s Famous Clam Chowder
While in Louisiana a few weeks ago for Sean’s family reunion, I sat down with his cousins and naturally the conversation veered to food. (Is it just me or does this happen with everyone? I think it may just be me, but I’m not sad about it.)
Sean’s cousins, Andrea and Wendy, make an awesome New England clam chowder and were kind enough to share their recipe with me. As the story goes, many years ago, there was a restaurant in Salt Lake City called Bratten’s.
Their aunt and uncle loved the clam chowder at Brattens so much that when the restaurant was closing in the late ’80s, their uncle paid the owner to share the recipe with him.
In the years since, Brattens clam chowder recipe has been shared in the local newspaper and it’s been published in a few places online as well. However, the recipe our family was given is a little different, and having tried both now, I’m biased toward this one.
There are a couple of “secret” ingredients here that aren’t common in most clam chowder recipes.
At the end of the cooking process, you’ll add a splash of red wine vinegar. The vinegar enhances the flavors beautifully and you may find yourself wondering why you haven’t been adding vinegar to more recipes.
White Clam Chowder
While you can certainly make a tasty chowder with a basic roux and some milk, half and half, or cream, when you add the additional clam juice to this chowder, it brings out the flavors so much more.
There just isn’t enough clam juice in those little cans of clams. Go ahead and put canned clams and clam juice on your grocery list, because this easy clam chowder needs to be a new favorite for your family too.
Clam Chowder Ingredients
- clam juice
- red wine vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- kosher salt
Easy Clam Chowder Recipe
To make Brattens clam chowder, start by combining the potatoes, celery, and onion, in a large pot and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt.
Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes total. Remove from the heat.
While the vegetables are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth.
Very slowly add 1 cup of milk, whisking constantly to maintain a smooth consistency. Add an additional cup of milk just as slowly, continually whisking.
Pour in the remaining milk while whisking constantly and bring to a low simmer to thicken, about 3 minutes. Do not allow this to boil.
Remove from the heat and pour the milk mixture into the pot with the tender vegetables.
Add the clams and juice from the cans to the chowder, along with the red wine vinegar. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt, if needed.
Only if necessary, return the pot to low heat for just long enough to warm the chowder.
Clam Chowder without Bacon
You may have noticed that many clam chowder recipes begin and end with bacon. Now you know that my family loves bacon, and we add it to many recipes, (see that clam chowder link for evidence of that) however, this particular clam chowder delivers a whole lot of awesome flavor without the bacon.
Instead of cooking the vegetables in bacon grease, they’re simmered in clam juice to make sure that flavor shines here.
Feel free to top your bowls of clam chowder with crumbled bacon if you have it on hand. And while I don’t personally recommend it, my youngest son enjoys piling shredded cheese on his clam chowder.
Whatever else you top your bowls with, don’t forget the oyster crackers! (And if you’re lucky enough to have oyster crackers leftover when the chowder is gone, try making a batch of these seasoned oyster crackers for a super fun snack.)
Want a few more easy soup recipes to try? Loaded with our favorite Mexican flavors; this Southwest Chicken Soup is slightly spicy with chunks of tomatoes, corn, black beans, and tender chicken. Best of all, it’s ready in less than 15 minutes.
This is, without doubt, bar none, the best tomato soup I have ever tasted. If you have someone in your family who doesn’t like tomato soup, this three-ingredient recipe is the one you can use to convince them otherwise. It has made diehard fans of me and my boys.
Dill Pickle Soup is a creamy, potato chowder-style soup, loaded with dill pickles and plenty of flavor. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve never tasted anything like this!
I’ve been calling this slow cooker potato soup my “Busy Day Potato Soup” for years. It can be assembled and started in the crock-pot anytime from 5-10 hours before you want to eat.
For the ultimate in lightning-fast soup recipes, Chinese Egg Drop Soup is a classic for good reason. The first time I made this recipe, my kids went crazy over it and devoured every single sip. They requested it again the very next day for lunch. From start to finish, it’s ready in less than 10 minutes.
Easy Clam Chowder
- 3 cups potatoes peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces, about 5 medium size potatoes
- 2 cups celery sliced very thin, about 3 large ribs
- 1½ cups yellow onion minced very small, about 1 large yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced optional
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 24 ounces clam juice (3) 8-ounce bottles
- ¾ cup butter
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk or half and half
- 20 ounces chopped clams, do not drain about (3) 6.5 ounce cans
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, and garlic if desired, in a large pot and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes total. Remove from the heat.
- While the vegetables are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Very slowly add 1 cup of milk, whisking constantly to maintain a smooth consistency. Add an additional cup of milk just as slowly, continually whisking.
- Pour in the remaining milk while whisking constantly and bring to a low simmer to thicken, about 3 minutes. Do not allow this to boil. Remove from the heat and pour the milk mixture into the pot with the tender vegetables.
- Add the clams and red wine vinegar. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt, if needed. Only if necessary, return the pot to low heat for just long enough to warm the chowder.