Soup and Sandwiches: Clam Chowder

Soup and Sandwiches: Clam Chowder

Dennis Weaver Dennis Weaver Jan 13, 2024

What sandwich goes well with clam chowder?

When I got up this morning, it was 14 below zero. That's a soup and sandwich day!

I love Diane's clam chowder.  I'm hooked on it.  Plus, we have some great tips from the Culinary Institute of America for making clam chowder.

We'll share her recipe and then recommend some sandwiches to go with your clam chowder.


    Diane’s Best New England Clam Chowder with Bacon Recipe

    If you like chowder, you should try this recipe. It is an easy-to-make recipe for someone who is new to making chowder.

    This recipe uses canned clams. You can get larger cans of clams at Sam’s Club. Because this recipe also has bacon, it calls for less clams.

    This is a very meaty recipe. If you want a less meaty chowder, thin it with milk as you finish cooking it.


    • 8 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
    • 24 ounces of clams, canned
    • ¼ cup butter
    • ¼ cup flour
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 3 stalks celery, diced
    • 1 ½ pounds potatoes, diced
    • 2 tablespoons Gresham & Myers Cajun Seasoning or another spice blend


    • In a large pan, combine potatoes, clam juice, and enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Do not drain.
    • Cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until it is crisp. Remove the bacon from pan and drain all but one tablespoon of drippings.
    • Add the onion and celery to the frying pan and cook until they are softened. Add the butter. When the butter is melted, stir in the flour, and cook until slightly browned.
    • Stir the vegetable mixture into potatoes in the clam water. Add the clams and cooked bacon and cook until thickened. When the chowder is thickened, heat the cream so that it doesn’t cool the soup and add it along with the seafood seasoning. Heat until the clams are warmed through.


     Troubleshooting Your Clam Chowder
    1. If your chowder is too thick and pasty tasting, either you have too much thickener or the soup was cooked too long. Thin your chowder with warm milk.
    2. If the flavor is disappointing, there is not enough of the main ingredients or too much liquid was used.
    3. If the soup is bland, too much cream may have been added masking the flavor of the clams.

    clam chowder in a cup

    Tips and Techniques for Making the Best Clam Chowder with Bacon

    From The Professional Chef/The Culinary Institute of America, 8th edition.

    1. Render the fat from the bacon by cooking the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan.
    2. Cook the vegetables in the remaining fat over gentle heat until they are tender and translucent.
    3. Add remaining fat. Stir the flour mixture into the fat and cook it until it is a pale yellow color. (Follow the recipe. Have the right flour to fat ratio is critical.)
    4. Slowly whisk in the stock or clam juice using a whisk to remove any lumps.
    5. Bring the soup to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer until the vegetables are fully tender and the soup has a good flavor.
    6. If the recipe calls for it, add the cream. The cream should be heated so that the soup remains hot.
    7. Check the quality of the finished chowder. Make sure the clams are heated through, the seasoning is desired, the consistency right, and the taste is right. The chowder should have a velvety texture and a consistency similar to heavy cream.


    Grilled cheese sandwiches

    Sandwiches That Go with Clam Chowder

    First, pick a bread. Sourdough bread with its tangy bite and chewy crust is a classic with chowder. It also holds together better than a soft sandwich bread. We have six sourdough bread mixes to choose from:


    I'm partial to hearty breads, especially with a hearty soup like clam chowder, so my choice would be something hearty like New England Sourdough Bread.  

    If you're not a fan of sourdough and prefer something milder, try Italian Country Bread Mix. It still has a bit of sourdough-like taste as most European country breads do, but it's a dynamite bread with a chewy crust.

    Grilled cheese and Bacon Sandwich

    And what to put on it?

    My first choice would be grilled cheese, maybe bacon and grilled cheese to go with the taste of the bacon in the chowder. If you do that, pry the hot sandwich apart when it comes from the pan and insert perfectly crisp bacon.

    To avoid a monochrome of flavors, you might slip a couple of slices of tomato on top of the bacon. But then, I really like tomatoes and the sharp, acidy taste of the tomatoes contrasts so well with cheese and the middle-of-the-road flavors in the chowder.

    But you're seeing my preferences. New England clam chowder is so mainstream, it's hard to go wrong. Pick your favorite bread. You can't go wrong with a great homemade bread. 

    Oh, and one final note . . . cornbread goes well with clam chowder.

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    Comments (1)

    • Thanks so much for the New England clam chowder recipe, it’s one of my favorites but have never made it from scratch. It’s nice that you add more to your site than just bread and suggestions for your breads.

      Pam Kelly

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