Richard Blais’ (Top Chef) Newer England Clam Chowder



Clam Chowder is an all time favourite when I am seeking for a bowl of piping hot comfort food ~ Creamy, flavourful and comforting. Dip with crusty hot bread ~ omg its heaven!

This recipe is adapted from Richard Blais’ “Try this at home: Recipes from my head to your plate” with some modification. This is not the typical thick, stodgy Clam Chowder you get from the fast food joints or some restaurants. It is creamy yet light. No starch is used in this recipe for thickening. However, if you prefer a thicker consistency, feel free to add plain flour to a small bowl of water first, before stirring into the soup, if you decide to thicken it later. Stir while adding until it reaches the consistency you prefer.

Picture adapted from

For those who do not know Richard Blais – He is a runner up on Season 4 of Top Chef and Winner on Season 8 of Top Chef All Stars. He is well-known for using lots of sciences & creativity in his food. He is also a sous chef to Cat Cora on Iron Chef America.

Dice all the vegetables, except for potatoes (which you can dice into a bigger cube), into small cubes. Yes, there are onions added to it which I forgotten to add to the plate above for photo taking 🙂

Pan Fry the bacon first and use the fats from the bacon to fry the vegetables. You can choose to remove the bacon from the pan after frying and top it on the soup later to have more texturing bite to it. Or, follow Richard’s recipe, just cook the bacons with the vegetables and simmered in the broth.

Use starchy potatoes like Russet Potatoes instead of Waxy ones.

Remember to buy crusty bread/baguette and warm it up before serving with the soup!

Richard Blais' (Top Chef) Newer England Clam Chowder
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6 pax
Clam Chowder
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 100g Bacon (Diced)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (Diced)
  • 2 Stalk of Celery (Diced)
  • 1 Leek, white part only (finely diced)
  • 2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme (leaves only) or ¼ teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 Bay Leave
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I use 1 teaspoon of salt & ¼ teaspoon of pepper - subject to type of chicken stock used)
  • 200g Clam (no shell) - to blend with chicken stock
  • 200g Chicken Stock
  • 1 litre heavy cream
  • 200g Starchy Potatoes
  • 24 pieces of clams (with shell or without)
Fried Cornmeal Clam
  • About 20 pieces of clam (drained and pat dry)
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teapoon pepper
  • Fried Cornmeal Clam
  • 1 sprig Fresh Thyme (leaves only)
Clam Chowder
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add diced bacon to the hot oil and cook until brown.
  3. Add in onions, leeks, celery, thyme, bay leave and cooked until vegetable soften, about 6 to 8 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, blend the 200g of clam and chicken stock in a blender
  5. Add the clam stock mixture, cream and potatoes into the pot of vegetables
  6. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes soften.
  7. Add in the 24 clams and cooked until shell open (unshelled ones for about 3 mins)
  8. Season with salt and pepper
  9. Ladle the soup into each serving bowl and top with fried cornmeal clams.
  10. Garnish with thyme leaves and serve hot with crusty bread
Fried Cornmeal Clam
  1. While the soup is simmering, prepare the fried cornmeal clam
  2. Add salt & pepper to the cornmeal and mix well
  3. Dredge the clams in the seasoned cornmeal
  4. Heat about ½ cup of oil in a frying pan (add more oil if require).
  5. Add in the clam and fry until brown, about 1 to 2 minutes
  6. Remove from the frying pan and set aside until required




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