This rich and hearty Easy Clam Chowder with Smoked Oysters is made with potatoes and canned clams, and is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter night.
When I was growing up, there was one soup that I looked forward to more than any other. It was a soup that seemed elusive, because it was only available at seafood restaurants or at the beach. It’s creamy, it’s steamy– it’s clam chowder.
More recently, I’ve decided that I NEED more clam chowder in my life. Since I normally can’t find fresh clams, and frozen clams are even harder to find– I made a clam chowder for the landlocked!
If you’re landlocked, without access to fresh clams– this easy clam chowder is for you! If you AREN’T landlocked, and have easy access to fresh clams– but find yourself on a budget, or snowed in, or simply don’t want to leave your house– this chowder is for you too!
It’s made with ingredients you probably already have on hand (or can easily get), and is EASY to prepare. Before you know it, you’ll be chowing down on a hot and steamy bowl of seafood yumminess.
First of all, to make clam chowder from canned clams– you need to have…. canned clams! (You figured that out already didn’t you?) There should be several types of canned clams at your local grocery store. Since most canned clams tend to be inexpensive, go ahead and try a few different brands and see which is your favorite! (My favorite is Bar Harbor.)
Most clam chowders include bacon– here I’ve skipped the bacon, and added smoked oysters instead. You can find smoked oysters right next to the canned clams. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the quality of smoked oysters from brand-to-brand. Right now, my favorite smoked oysters come from either Trader Joe’s or Reese.
I like to use seafood stock for this soup, but if you don’t have any, grab some vegetable broth and a bottle of clam juice. You’ll also need some potatoes, an onion, some herbs, a little white wine, and some celery.
Learn more: Check out this Ultimate Guide to Canned Fish!
Making Easy Clam Chowder
This soup starts out like potato soup– you sauté onions with herbs and bay leaves, add wine, add broth, add the potatoes, and let it cook. Just like when I make potato soup, I like to thicken it by scooping out about half of the chunky potatoes with a little bit of broth, and blending it in an immersion blender cup or stand blender.
Next, I add celery and milk or cream. (Avoid adding the celery before using the blender. It turns the soup green, and that’s not necessarily a good look.)
The finishing touches to this easy clam chowder are the clams and the smoked oysters. Toss them in right at the end, stir it all up, and scoop your steaming hot seafood soup into bowls. Top it off with some more herbs (if you want to), and smile, because now you have clam chowder even though you’re landlocked!
Easy Clam Chowder with Smoked Oysters
Winter Seafood Soup
- 1 TB butter or olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups seafood stock OR 3 cups vegetable broth and 1 cup clam juice
- 3 large baking potatoes, peeled (optional) and diced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2-3 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 cans clams, chopped (about 6oz)
- 1 tin smoked oysters, drained from oil (about 3oz)
- 1 TB salt, to taste
- fresh basil, as optional garnish
Heat butter in pan on medium, then add onion, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until onions have softened, and add wine. Allow wine to cook about 3 minutes on medium.
Add seafood stock (or vegetable broth and clam juice) and diced potatoes. Bring soup to a boil, and then allow to simmer about 10 minutes.
While soup is simmering, sauté celery in a small pan and set aside.
Roughly chop oysters, and set aside.
After potatoes have softened, ladle about half the potatoes into a blender or immersion blender cup. Pour pureé back into the soup pot, and add milk, cream, celery, clams, and oysters.
Simmer 5 more minutes.
Season to taste with salt. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 3 days.
Recipe loosely adapted from: Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child