New England Clam Chowder


The weather at the US Sailboat Show was in full swing last weekend as the aftereffects of Matthew blew through. Generally the days were gorgeous and cool until the rains set in on Saturday and the winds built up on Sunday. But there’s nothing better to sailors than strutting around like sports models in their colorful foulies on the floating runways of the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Yes, Columbus Day weekend is my favorite holiday of the year!

We were hunkered down with 5 sailors, a pug and a puzzle in our J42, across the creek from the Sailboat Show. It was a pirate’s paradise. We needed something warm and hearty to compliment the overabundance of Octoberfest we had on board. New England Clam Chowder to the rescue!

I like the look of having real clams in clam chowder. So I headed to Annapolis Seafood Market to pick up 2 dozen Little Necks. Be sure to pick only the clams that are tightly closed.


Classic New England Clam Chowder

6 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 potatoes, diced in large chunks
3 cups water (more, if needed)
3 small cans chopped clams
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 dozen fresh little neck clams
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


This is a fairly simple soup that no one should shy away from making at home or in your galley. Some clam purists say bacon is a no-no. But I happen to be a chowder lover and think that any good chowder…in fact most good meals of any sort…start out with bacon.

Chop the bacon, celery and onion. Mince or press the garlic and set aside. Fry the bacon in a big pot on your galley stove for about 5 minutes. Once it’s nice and crispy add the celery, onion and pressed garlic. Sauté until celery is just starting to soften and onions turn translucent, another 3 or so minutes.


Dice the potatoes and rinse off the clams. Open your three cans of canned clams.


Add the potatoes to the pot, then pour in the water. Add the canned clams and a bay leaf.


Simmer on medium-low until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.


Add the fresh clams and more water if necessary. Cover the pot with a lid and let steam until clams open, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that don’t open.


You’re on the home stretch now. In a medium sized bowl, place 1/4 cup flour. Pour two cups cream into the flour.add-cream-to-flour

Whisk well until it forms a smooth, creamy sauce.


While still simmering, stir the cream mixture into your soup. Continue to stir as it thickens. Season with salt and pepper.


Ladle into bowls and serve with crackers or french bread. Or Octoberfest or Loose Cannon. Or all of the above.


After a bowl or two and a couple beers you’ll be ready to hit the Sailboat Show again. Or….take a nap. : )


Did you hate to see the weekend end as much as I did? Let Galley Pirates know how YOU do the US Sailboat Show!!

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