New England Clam Chowder & A Spinach Salad

New England~Style Clam Chowder  |  Spinach Salad with a Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Intro Collage

“Soup is the solvent of memory.  For many of us it is love.  When I am tired and want comfort, when I want to share happiness, or when I want flavor, my first desire is soup.  The pots and bowls and cups of soup contain the sensations of childhood, the heritage of families, the identities of peoples, the inspiration of land and water, and cook’s inventions.”  ~  Barbara Kafka, Soup, A Way of Life

I recently mentioned that soup is currently a popular dinner choice in our household, for so many reasons.  Large roasts, rich sides and sweet treats were thoroughly enjoyed this holiday season but I now find myself craving simplicity and comfort heading into the unchartered waters of the new year.  Soup nourishes with ease…a simple broth can ease a winter cold yet, with the addition of a few vegetables, some rice and a few pieces of leftover chicken from Sunday’s dinner, it can be transformed into a satisfying meal.

Years ago living in Ipswich, Massachusetts {on Boston’s North Shore}, I, like so many other local residents, enjoyed clamming.  When the tide was right {and my work schedule allowed} I would head out to Crane’s Beach with Martha, our golden retriever, and a large bucket to scour the tide pools and rocks at the water’s edge for my catch.  At home, these little hard-shelled creatures were either steamed in white wine and garlic, and served along with pasta or crusty bread, or chopped up and added to chowder.

Chopped Clams

 Chowder…a wonderfully tasty, soothing combination of vegetables and clams swimming in a milky broth.  To this day, a hot mug of chowder is my ultimate comfort food and served with a salad, it becomes a satisfying meal.

The recipe for our chowder is extremely easy and the soup comes together in less than half an hour.  Several slices of bacon are cooked in a large heavy-bottomed pot and then set aside to be chopped and used as a topping for the finished chowder.  For this dinner, I added the chopped bacon to the spinach salad instead of using it to top the soup.


In the drippings left in the pot, some chopped carrots, onion and herbs are sautĂ©ed until the vegetables just begin to soften.  A sprinkling of flour and the slow addition of milk to the pot create a silky broth.

Herbs and Milk Collage

The chopped clams {from a can these days}, some frozen corn kernels and a potato {peeled and diced} are added to the pot and cooked for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  The soup can then be served or, like I did for this dinner, transferred to a slow-cooker set to “warm” and served at a later time.

New England Style Clam Chowder
  1. 6 thick bacon slices
  2. 1 large onion, peeled + chopped
  3. 2 large carrots, peeled + chopped
  4. 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  5. 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  6. 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  7. 4 cups whole milk
  8. 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled + diced
  9. 3 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams in juice
  10. 1 16-ounce bag frozen corn kernels
  1. Cook bacon in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
  2. Add the onions, carrots and herbs to the bacon drippings in the pot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over; stir 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add milk to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until slightly thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes, clams with juice, and corn. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender and corn is cooked, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve in individual bowls garnished with chopped bacon {if using}.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
A hearty spinach salad completed our dinner.  The bacon cooked in the soup pot during the preparation of our chowder was reserved, along with some of the drippings, for this salad.  I had prepared the soup a few hours before dinner, and with the bacon already cooked, all I had to do was toss some spinach, crumbled bleu cheese, apple and bacon with a warm dressing that I prepared in just a few minutes on the stovetop.


Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
  1. 6 pieces thick-cut bacon
  2. 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  3. 1 teaspoon raw honey
  4. 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  5. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  6. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  7. 2 cups baby spinach
  8. 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  9. 1 large green apple, cored + diced
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool for a minute or two. Crumble or chop bacon slices into small pieces.
  2. Place the spinach, crumbled bleu cheese, diced apple and bacon pieces into a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Whisk in shallot, honey, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to the rendered bacon fat in the hot skillet and cook over medium heat for about a minute. Pour the warm dressing over the salad in the bowl and toss until the dressing is evenly distributed.
Adapted from
Adapted from


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