Bacon Loves Clam Chowder


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

There are few things as satisfying as a big bowl of creamy, hearty clam chowder studded with chewy, briny clams and thick pieces of smoky pork. The porchetta, with its fennel, sage, and rosemary, adds an unexpected flavor not normally associated with classic New England clam chowder.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 40 little neck clams, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 6 ounces (180 ml) dry white wine
  • 6 ounces (180 ml) bottled clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces (170 g) Smoked Porchetta, cut into lardons
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (720 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil over high heat until it begins to shimmer, about 1 minute. Stir in the clams, then add the wine and half of the clam juice. Cover the pot and cook, shaking the pot a few times, until all the clams open, about 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a large bowl, discarding any that do not open, and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, remove all but 6 clams from their shells and coarsely chop. Reserve the clams in their shells for garnish.

In a large bowl, strain the liquid from the stockpot through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the butter, and cook until it has melted. Stir in the porchetta and cook until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. Remove the porchetta to a plate lined with paper towels.

Remove all but ¼ cup (60 ml) of the rendered fat from the pan and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onion, celery, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until it turns a pale blond color, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining clam juice and the reserved clam broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup begins to thicken, the potatoes are tender, and the raw flour taste has cooked out, about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Add the chopped clams, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for 1 minute.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each with a clam in the shell, a few pieces of crisp porchetta, and some chives.