Grandma’s Clam Chowder

Have I ever told you about my Grandparents?  I had four amazing ones that I grew up spending the summers with.  So much of my childhood and who I am is wrapped up in them.

I told you about Gigi here.  She is an amazing woman, I can only hope to learn to give like she does.  This is a picture of four generations with her down to my daughter.

generationsI don’t have a recent picture of my grandparents on my dad’s side.  They passed away a number of years ago.  I still dream some nights that I’m at their house just hanging out or swimming or doing everyday things with them at least once a month.  They were crazy lovely people that taught me to love life and make the most out of each day.


This is their wedding picture.  I think Grandma was gorgeous.

Grandma also taught me how to cook.  She was the best cook I know.  She loved to tell how she couldn’t even boil water when they first got married.  Grandpa made fun of it, and her beautiful stubborn self decided she would show him exactly what she could do.  So she watched Julia Child, read cookbooks, and became known for her brilliance in the kitchen.

This is her clam chowder recipe.  She taught me to make it years ago and I keep the recipe in my head I’ve made it so many times.  Now I can share it with you! I hope you love it as much as I do.


Serves 6-8

  • 6 (6.5oz) cans minced clams (I sometimes mix in chopped clams as well)
  • 2 (8 oz) bottles clam juice
  • 6 oz bacon (about 6 slices)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 c all purpose flour
  • 1.5 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cook bacon in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Remove bacon and add onion cooking until onion has softened, about 5 min. Add garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.  Stir in flour till it coats all your veggies, at least a minute.  Gradually whisk in your clam juice and the juice (not the clams yet!) from the cans of clams. Stir in potatoes, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in clams, crumbled bacon, cream, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Return to simmer for a couple minutes, then remove from heat.  Remove bay leaves and check seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Will be thick upon serving (use less flour if you don’t like it thick). It will thicken a bit the next day too.  I also add leftover ham sometimes to mine and I love it too.