Which do you prefer? New England Clam Chowder or the San Francisco version? The first time I was introduced to clam chowder was by way of Progresso Soup. It’s watered down, tastes like the can it comes from and the clams are uber chewy. Definitely not the best first impression. This brings me to a brief walk down memory lane.
The next time I was introduced to clam chowder was while visiting San Francisco with my parents when I was a teen. Here’s some backstory, my stepdad worked in refrigeration in San Francisco. He loved that city. He had a small apartment right off of Geary Street and would spend three weeks in the city and then drive home to Hinckley, Utah to stay for a week. For some odd reason, he enjoyed it and I didn’t mind it myself, since we didn’t really get along. Thinking back on it, it was strange that our family lived like this for years. My mother worked at the Delta Middle School and I attended Delta High School.
In the summers, I would go out to San Francisco to spend some time with my parents, so they could share with me all the different foods they felt I was missing out on. I can tell you that my first-generation Asian American self was not accustomed to the diverse foods San Francisco offered. As a teen, I spent most of my time at my friends’ homes where they served American fare. I didn’t enjoy these food excursions in San Fran because it meant that I would be eating a lot of foods I didn’t like. Tripe was high on my dislike list and to this day, I’m still not a fan. I have grown accustomed to eel since then, but I don’t have much of an Asian palette. Sometimes I think my kids are more Asian than me. My third child, Isabel loves octopus and even my 1-year-old will eat sardines and rice in the morning.
Anyways, back to the story. One day my parents took me to an American restaurant, I truly never thought I’d see the day. I had the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and it made a memorable impression. The likes I have not seen until I made this recipe. I did find out that the primary difference between the New England Clam Chowder and the San Francisco version is that the latter is served with sourdough bread. Can you believe that’s the only difference?!
My husband loved it so much that he had three bowls of it. Unfortunately, sourdough bread in the rounds is hard to come by out and I haven’t gotten around to baking it. Sourdough in slices isn’t nearly as satisfying, so I ended up making the Red Lobster cheddar biscuits from a box. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!
- 3 – 10 ounce cans baby clams undrained
- 16 ounces clam juice
- 3 Cups chicken broth
- 2 large potatoes peeled, diced
- 1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
- 6 Tablespoons corn starch
- 4 Cups heavy whipping cream
- In a large stockpot, combine, clam juice, undrained clams, chicken broth and potatoes. Place on medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Mix cornstarch with heavy whipping cream and pour into stockpot. Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.