Clam chowder takes the chill off a late fall evening.

Clam chowder takes the chill off a late fall evening.

Remember that clam broth and the clams we had the other night? I saved the leftover juice and dug out the clams, thinking I would make a spaghetti sauce.

But Saturday night, I decided clam chowder would make a quick meal after a busy day. I had bacon sliced medium thick from Chop Butchery & Charcuterie inside Northwest Portland’s City Market. I had milk, potatoes and onions. And I had unsalted butter.

Now you may be thinking, wow, she uses way too much butter. If you will recall from my Nov. 17 post, “Steamer clams open up goodness,” I used unsalted butter. So I was thinking about butter, which flavors many a Thanksgiving dish, and as I put the chowder together, I recalled Julia Child’s pronouncement:

“If you’re afraid of butter, as many people are nowadays,” she said in one of her last television shows, “just put in cream!” Another time, someone asked her how her cholesterol was doing, and she replied, “medium.”

So here’s a chowder recipe. Actually, I just put it together as I’m going along, so improvise and add or subtract as you wish. I’ve chopped green pepper and added it on other occasions. I probably had 2 cups of the clam broth available. This was a small batch. You can easily double it. Also, I didn’t add salt — just pepper — because I wasn’t sure how salty the broth was and I knew the bacon would add sodium. I figured people could season at the table.

Clam chowder

1 potato, nicely cubed

5 slices bacon, chopped after cooking

1/2 onion, finely chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 carrot, finely chopped

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups of clam juice and the clams or 2 cans of chopped clams

1 cup of milk


Cook the bacon in the microwave until it is about half done. Set aside.

Dice the potato and blanche. Cook until about half done. Set aside. When the potato is added to the soup, it will give up its starch and help thicken the mixture. You can thin with a dash of chicken broth or more milk.

Saute the onions and carrot until the onions are translucent and turning golden. Add the flour to make a roux, stirring continuously. Then gradually add the clam broth, stirring to prevent lumps. After a minute or two, slowly add the milk, then the bacon and potato. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes. Garnish with green onions.

Serve with green salad with basalmic vinegar.












Janet Cleaveland

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 52 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

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