Long Island Clam Chowder

Long Island Clam Chowder

I’ve made Manhattan and New England clam chowder many times, but I wanted to try a Long Island version so after much reading and comparing way too many recipes, this is what I came up with for my chowder recipe.   I have prepared my own chowder spice blend; some of the ingredients for the blend appear at the bottom of the page and meant as a guideline, season your chowder as you like.  The chowder didn’t photograph well and is actually not that red.

The chowder is thick with clams, chunks of potatoes, and plenty of pancetta as someone said to me recently, “extra clams and bacon”, thanks to John for the advice and beyond that the chowder probably doesn’t resemble what he might know as Long Island clam chowder…The chowder benefits greatly in the flavor department as I refrigerated the base overnight.  Easily serves 12 and the chowder freezes well. 

My NE Clam Chowder lover actually was very surprised at how good the chowder was and as he loves thicker chowder, this fit the bill in that category as well.  I was certainly pushing it as a healthier alternative despite the potatoes and pancetta. 

Dinner is ready for tomorrow night just reheat and add the potatoes and the rest of the clams to finish the chowder. 

  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), finely diced
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 5 ribs of celery, finely diced leaves and all
  • *Optional-1 Green pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 each red and yellow pepper
  • 1-2 seeded jalapeños—taste for heat before adding 2
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 5 cups chopped clams, (pulse process 2 cups clams in a processor to break down to an almost puree state)
  • 1-1/2-2 lbs potatoes, unpeeled and diced, I had Yukon Golds
  • 1-28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-28 ounce can or box of strained tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chowder seasoning
  • *Taste finished chowder before you add any salt
  • 4-6 cups strained clam broth to start with add more to thin your soup if too thick
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 8 ounces diced pancetta and extra to garnish chowder
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon and a touch of the zest if you like

Prepare all of the vegetables, keep the potatoes separate, and pulse process about 2 cups of the already chopped/diced clams, set aside.

NOTE:  I make the chowder the day before, so I sauté the cubed potatoes in some of the rendered pancetta, EVOO, and butter, cool, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to add them to the pot if making ahead otherwise proceed  as stated below.  I have about 14-14-1/2 cups chowder base before adding clams and potatoes.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and EVOO in a big soup pot, sauté only 6 ounces pancetta for the chowder until crisp.  Add the remaining 2 ounces to another heated saute pan  sauté 3-4 minutes add the diced potatoes  saute  5 minutes.  Set aside to add to chowder later.

Add the vegetables to the bacon in the pot (add a little more EVOO if the pan is too dry), season with a touch (1/2 teaspoon) of the chowder seasoning and toss in 2 bay leaves and sauté for about 5 minutes or until softened, deglaze with white wine and lemon juice, add the strained broth and tomatoes, allow to come to a boil and turn the heat down to a low simmer.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes then add processed clams, stir season with Worcestershire and lemon juice, taste for seasoning add more 1/2-1 teaspoon chowder seasoning.   Simmer for 40–50 minutes, taste for seasoning (don’t add salt if it doesn’t need it) add more broth if too thick.  Can be prepared ahead to this point and refrigerated, reheat the next day and add the potatoes and diced clams in the last 15 minutes of cooking time simmer for another 20 minutes, test potatoes and cook more if need be.

Suggested spices for Chowder seasoning:

Oregano, paprika, dried basil, cayenne, dill, thyme, granulated garlic, celery seed, and Phillips seafood seasoning.  I blend using a mortar and pestle and store in a spice jar.  Great in Manhattan and Long Island style chowder.