Cooktop Cove: How to make slow cooker clam chowder (video)
By John Jasins
Growing up in New England, I was never in short supply of clam chowder. Perfect for a cold winter's day, this soup is hearty enough to be the main dish or to serve as a side. There's nothing like that rich, creamy, comforting feeling you get from a good clam chowder.
This recipe takes all the necessary steps to making a delectable New England-style clam chowder, full of potatoes and clams. Taking the time to cook the bacon and make a roux using the rendered fat makes all the difference in this recipe. Cooking the roux properly and allowing the milk to simmer is what gives clam chowder that luscious creamy consistency. In just a little over four hours, you'll have the soul-warming chowder I grew up eating and still love cooking today.
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder
20 minutes
4 hours, 15 minutes
4 hours, 35 minutes
3 slices raw bacon, roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, medium diced
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 cups clam juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups medium-diced red bliss potatoes
1 cup small-diced celery
3 cups chopped clams, with juice, canned or fresh
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup creme fraiche
4 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
4 tablespoons roughly chopped cooked bacon
1 cup oyster crackers
In a large saucepan, on medium-high heat, fry bacon until cooked through. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes, until translucent. Drain bacon and onions, reserving 4 tablespoons of bacon fat. Set aside bacon and onions.
Using the same pot, add butter and reserved bacon fat. Set to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Once butter is bubbling, add flour. Whisk until smooth and continue to cook for 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
Add milk and clam juice to pot and whisk until smooth. Simmer until liquid thickens, about 5 minutes.
Transfer bacon, onions and thickened clam and milk broth to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add garlic, potatoes, celery, clams, fresh thyme, bay leaf, salt and black pepper.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, add heavy cream and stir in creme fraiche. Continue to cook on high for 1 hour.
Pick out thyme stems and bay leaves.
Garnish with green onions, bacon and oyster crackers.
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