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Farm Style Clam Chowder

Rustic Farm Style Clam Chowder with tarragon and bacon
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: PNW, Seafood
Keyword: Cream Based Clam Chowder, Farm to Table, Manila Clams, PNW Clam Chowder, Steamer Clams
Servings: 6


  • 4 strips thick cut smokey bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 Walla Walla sweet onion 3/4 diced 1/4 halved then sliced
  • 4 sticks celery chopped
  • 10 baby potatoes (mix of red and yellow medium size) halved then sliced
  • 4 6.5 oz cans chopped clams reserve clam juice
  • 1 8 oz bottle clam juice
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry or white wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon (better than bouillon brand)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter

Steamer Clams

  • 1 lb fresh manila "steamer" clams cleaned
  • 1 tbsp bacon grease or olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 1 large shallot sliced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry or white wine
  • 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon minced


  • Cook bacon strips in your soup pot over medium high heat until browned and fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside, leaving fat in soup pot.
  • Saute garlic, onion and celery in bacon fat until softened.
  • Add cooking sherry or white wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot.
  • Add potatoes, reserved clam juice, bottle of clam juice , water, chicken bouillon, 1/4 tsp tarragon, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Make roux: In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat, stir in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
  • Slowly add roux to pot of chowder, stirring to combine.
  • Add heavy cream and remaining tarragon. Simmer until thickened.
  • Serve with freshly steamed clams and crumbled bacon.

Steamer Clams

  • Heat a medium pot over high heat. Wait until it is very hot, then add bacon grease or olive oil, garlic, shallot and clams all at once. Add sherry or white wine and chicken broth. Add tarragon. Cover and reduce heat to medium low while the clams steam open. When they have all opened, remove clams and divide among chowder bowls.