Irish Immigrant clam chowder

This is a hearty soup, much associated with Irish immigrants from Newfoundland to New England.   It makes a great soup for those cold fall days when you want to chase the chill away.  Add crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.


12 large Quahog clams

6 cups water

2 tbsp unsalted Irish butter

3 garlic cloves, sliced

2 medium onions, sliced

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tbsp fresh chopped basil

2 medium carrots,

1 large potato

1 large parsnip

1 large leek,

1 tbsp fresh thyme

6 tbsp heavy cream



  1. Wash the clams. Put the water in a large steamer an steam the clams open.  Set the steamer aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and onions.  Fry for a few minutes until the  onions are soft and translucent.  Add the pepper and basil and stir using a wooden spoon.
  3. Chop the clams and fry for about 4 minutes, so the clams absorb the strong garlic flavor.
  4. Add 1/3 of the clam liquor from the steamer. Bring to a boil and reduce to a quietly bubbling simmer.
  5. Coarsely chop vegetables and add to saucepan. Add the reminder of the clam liquor. Bring to a boil and again reduce heat.  Simmer quietly for an hour until vegetable are soft.
  6. Take the chowder off the heat, add the thyme and stir in the heavy cream. Serve immediately while hot.  Serves 6 to 8 bowls.

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