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By The Quiet Voice

The perfect bowl of clam chowder in the West

Many people love a good bowl of clam chowder. From coast to coast, a good bowl of chowder is not that hard to find. What is difficult is finding the perfect recipe. From Seattle to San Diego and everywhere in between, the opinions concerning what makes a perfect clam chowder are as different as the recipes. There are however some basic ingredients that simply can't and should never be left out.


This is a no-brainer. To make clam chowder, clams are a must-have ingredient. Fresh clams are always the best to use since they carry more flavor than canned or frozen clams.


Used to make the roux, which I'll explain in a bit, flour provides a base for the chowder.


This ingredient usually depends on the cook's preference, and is used with the flour to make the roux. The roux is, simply put, the base of the chowder.


The type of potatoes used can differ from one cook to the next, but this ingredient is just as essential. Different types of potatoes can give the chowder different flavors and textures.

There are many other ingredients that can be added to clam chowder for flavor. Some people add celery for crunch. Some add onion for a bit of flavor. Others add fresh herbs and spices. Whatever gets added to the mix will affect the taste of the chowder. A traditional clam chowder will taste strongly of clams. This is usually why you will not see a bowl of clam chowder loaded with a lot of vegetables.

Putting it together

When putting the chowder together, many cooks have their own unique methods. Thankfully, there are basic ways to integrate the ingredients that anyone can follow.

1. Peel and chop the potatoes

Some people like to leave the skins on, in which case it is recommended that they be thoroughly scrubbed. The smaller they are chopped the quicker they will soften.

2. Add ingredients and bring to a boil

Boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash. It is often recommended to use an electric beater to achieve a smooth consistency.

3. Add the roux

The thickness of the roux will determine the overall consistency of the chowder. For a thicker chowder, it is necessary to add more flour. To make it thinner just add more milk. Bring the combined chowder to a low boil to fully integrate the ingredients into the chowder.

4. Enjoy!

Clam chowder is a culinary delight that is enjoyed by many. Many people develop a preference based on consistency, taste or even location. The debate over which establishment makes the best chowder can go on for days as consumers cite their favorite restaurants, deli's, and other locations. One irrefutable fact that remains consistent is that clam chowder seems to get better the closer one gets to the coast. It is also just as good the next day, as the ingredients have time to settle and the flavor often becomes more pronounced.

Article sources

"New England Clam Chowder." Epicurious. n.d. Web. 26 July 2016

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