New England (a.k.a. Speonk’s) Clam Chowder

New England (a.k.a. Speonk’s) Clam Chowder

New England (a.k.a. Speonk’s) Clam Chowder


  • 6 8-ounce bottles clam juice
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 lb. bacon, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped celery with leaves (about 2 large stalks)
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 12 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • Chopped Italian parsley for garnish


  1. Bring bottled clam juice and potatoes to boil in heavy large pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Sauté bacon in a second large pot over medium heat and cook until bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Add to the first large pot with the potatoes and clam juice
  3. In the second pot pot melt butter stir in flour and cook 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown). Gradually whisk in reserved juices from clams.
  4. Add to the first pot with the potato mixture, bacon, onion, celery, garlic, clams, heavy cream and hot pepper sauce. Simmer chowder 5 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving.)

This chowder is named after my daughter’s best friend Meagan who I affectionately call Speonk. The nickname comes from one of Meg’s first summer visits to Jenn’s grandmother’s house in Westhampton. As we drove out to the east end of Long Island I would ask her to pronounce the various names of the towns. Well Remsenburgh, Patchogue, Ronkonkama etc. were tough for this sweet southern girl to pronounce. SPEONK however flowed from her tongue like a native. From then on she has been SPEONK to me.

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