Everything Newfoundland & Labrador with its Culture, Cuisine and Traditions

Newfoundland Clam Chowder

It seems that every country and or regions of a particular country all want to take credit for the famous “Clam Chowder.” Going back in history, it would be almost impossible to pin point any country with the first origins of this dish. Chowder or any of a variety of soups featuring salt pork fat, thickened with flour, heavy roux, hard tac (ship biscuit) or saltine crackers and milk, first materialized with the Breton fisherman who migrated south of New England from Newfoundland.

So lets begin a new tradition, and call this dish which originated in Newfoundland anyway, “Newfoundland Clam Chowder.” For restaurant owners, you can add the new name to your menus.

As described by Wikipedia, Clam Chowder is any of several chowders containing clams and broth. Along with the clams, diced potato is common, as are onions, which are occasionally sautéed in the drippings from salt pork or bacon. Celery is frequently used. Other vegetables are uncommon, but small carrot strips might occasionally be added, primarily for color. A garnish of parsley serves the same purpose. Bay leaves are also sometimes used as a garnish and flavouring. It is believed that clams were added to chowder because of their relative ease to collect.

Clam chowder is often served in restaurants on Fridays in order to provide a seafood option for those who abstain from meat every Friday, which used to be a requirement for Catholics before liturgical changes in Vatican II, and on Fridays during Lent. Though the period of strict abstinence from meat on Fridays was reduced to Lent, the year-round tradition of serving clam or fish chowder on Fridays’ remains.


Clam chowder1Makes 4 servings


  • 2 (10 oz) cans clams
  • 2 bottles clam juice
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 celery stick, chopped sm
  • 1 sm carrot, chopped sm
  • 1 lg potato, peeled & diced
  • 4 tbsp butter (or oil)
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • Salt & white pepper


Drain clams and save juice. Combine bottled clam juice and juice from cans. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and keep liquid hot until required.

In a saucepan over low-moderate heat, sauté onion, garlic, celery, carrot and potato in butter without letting vegetables brown (approx 8-10 minutes). Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook roux for 3-4 minutes (do not brown).

Using a wire whisk, slowly stir clam juice in the roux. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring until liquid thickens. Simmer until vegetables are tender (approx 20-30 minutes). Add clams and hot milk. Heat gently, do not boil. Season to taste.


  • If using fresh clams, chop them, and save juice
  • Ensure vegetables are cut approx the same size

shop-beer – beer bought either at a liquor or beer store (beer not homemade)


Share Button