Recipe | New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

We were excited to be a judge at History Bites at The Mariners’ Museum [Newport News] [LINK]. The event, part of the Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend, was held March 10. Some of the region’s top chefs prepared their best interpretations of 19th century dishes in a battle of their own.

Chef Forrest Warren of Smoke [Newport News] [LINK] took top honors for most Outstanding Dish (and People’s Choice for soup/salad) with his New England Clam Chowder. He joins us on the March 16 broadcast of The Virginia Eats + Drinks Show to talk about his creation, and shares his recipe with us here:


1 pound bacon cut into lardons (small cubes)(see note)

3 stalks celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 bay leaf

2/3 cup flour

1/2 cup white wine (see note)

1 quart milk

2 Idaho potato (such as the Russet Burbank), peeled and diced

2 pounds whole baby clams in juice (see note)

1 cup heavy cream

Pinch nutmeg

Salt and pepper


In a large pot cook the bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy., about 2-5 minutes. Add celery, onion and bay leaf, and cook until translucent, about 2-5 minutes.

Stir in the flour, coating the vegetables. Slowly stir in wine and milk; bring to a simmer and add potatoes.

When potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes, add clams, cream, and nutmeg; return to simmer for about 5 minutes, and remove from heat. Season to taste.

Yields 4-6 servings

Note: make this dish uniquely Virginia; we recommend the following products to add to your ingredient list:

+ Bacon: Half Slab Country Bacon from Edwards Virginia Smokehouse [LINK]

+ Wine: Chardonnay from Chatham Vineyards [LINK]

+ Clams: Buttons or Littlenecks from Cherrystone Aqua Farms [LINK]

Here’s a line-up of all the winners:

Most Outstanding Smoke for their New England Clam Chowder

Best Presentation | Stratford University for their Polla Alla Cacciatora

Best Culinary School | Stratford University for their Polla All Caccitora and Mary Todd’s White Cake

Ironclad Chef Award for Historical Accuracy | Custom Culinary for their Croquets with Mushroom Sauce

Honorable Mention | Ms. Mary’s for their Painkiller cocktail

People’s Choice for Entree | The Catering Company for their Chicken Marengo

People’s Choice for Soup or Salad | Smoke for their New England Clam Chowder

People’s Choice for Dessert | Culinary Institute of Virginia for their Boston Cream Pie

For Reads, Recipes, Resources and more, please sign up for our FREE newsletters + magazine HERE [LINK]

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