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Clam Chowder with Bacon and Green Chiles

Looking for a good clam chowder recipe? Last week I had company over and decided to make my typical clam chowder, but with an extra savory kick. I added bacon to my aromatic vegetables and diced green chiles to my broth base. Oh. My. Goodness. If you love clam chowder, you are going to love this!

Clam Chowder with Bacon and Green Chiles

Clam Chowder: The Players

Clam Chowder: The How-To

1. Begin by frying up your bacon in a medium cast-iron skillet. Rather than crumbling hot bacon after it’s cooked, I prefer to just cut my raw bacon with kitchen shears and allow it to fry into already-crumbled bits. To your fried bacon bits, add the onion and celery and allow to cook until the veggies turn translucent.

2. Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to boil in a 6 quart soup pot and add diced potatoes, green chiles, taco seasoning, cumin, and salt. Allow potatoes to cook in the boiling broth.

3. About 10 minutes before broth and aromatic veggies are ready, begin making your roux in a small sauce pan. Melt butter over medium heat; then add flour, stirring constantly to create a pasty roux. To the hot roux, add cold cream. (REMEMBER: HOT roux + COLD cream = NO LUMPS!) Continue stirring over medium heat until it thickens into a nice, creamy gravy.

4. Transfer bacon and aromatic veggies into your large soup pot. Add thickened gravy to the large soup pot. Stir until evenly mixed. Remove from heat. Add clams and sour cream and stir until evenly mixed.

5. Serve up your extra tasty clam chowder in bowls, topped with grated cheese and cilantro or diced green onions. ENJOY!

(photo by clemson)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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28 Responses to Clam Chowder with Bacon and Green Chiles
  1. Food Photography Blog
    February 4, 2011 | 1:16 pm

    Hi there,

    Chowder style soups are amazing. I am a vegetarian so don’t eat clam =, but I love corn chowder. I am assuming if I replace clams with corn this soup should work?

    May be something for me to experiment.Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • KristenM
      February 4, 2011 | 2:42 pm

      I don’t see why it wouldn’t. You’d probably want to cook the corn with the potatoes, rather than adding it at the end.

      • Jenny in CG
        February 5, 2011 | 1:45 pm

        Corn chowder made this way would be outstanding! However, I suggest you add the corn later, like the clams in the original recipe. That is what we do when we make corn chowder and it keeps the textures so you have lovely, smooth and creamy sauce, nice tender potatoes and then, luscious, toothsome, tasty corn with a little bit of crispness still intact.

        • Lisa
          July 8, 2011 | 11:22 am

          Oh great Idea, thanks. I am going to grill the corn too. What do you think?

  2. Christy Kepler via Facebook
    February 4, 2011 | 2:07 pm

    DO you have a printable version of the recipes I want to get them printed and add them to my TO COOK LIST! Thanks

  3. Andrea (Andreas Kitchen)
    February 4, 2011 | 2:17 pm

    I have never thought about taking a clam chowder a different flavor direction! Great idea!

    • KristenM
      February 4, 2011 | 2:45 pm

      Thanks. I was thinking about calling this “Texas Clam Chowder” since it takes the classic New England Clam Chowder in such a savory, Texas-inspired direction.

  4. Food Renegade via Facebook
    February 4, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    @Christy — I used to, but the plugin I used no longer works. I haven’t replaced it.

  5. Christy Kepler via Facebook
    February 4, 2011 | 2:32 pm

    Ok well then I’ll just do it the hard way LOL thanks, that chowder looks fastastic!

  6. Liz
    February 4, 2011 | 8:57 pm

    This. looks. amazing. I grew up on Cape Cod and every summer we are lucky enough to get fresh quahogs that my grandfather digs. I think we’ll be introducing them to green chiles this year!

  7. Michelle @ Find Your Balance
    February 7, 2011 | 4:42 pm

    Foraged hogs. Is that what they’re called? Like pastured chickens? I never know what to call good pork!

    • KristenM
      February 7, 2011 | 4:44 pm

      I’ve also heard them called “humanely raised” since there’s a certification for that which involves making sure the hogs get decent feed & living conditions. I prefer to call them “foraged” because that’s the most clear terminology for the most ideal scenario. (Like calling a chicken “pastured” instead of “free-range.”)

  8. JoAnna Parente
    February 9, 2011 | 7:12 pm

    Wow! This was great! We just had this for supper but I did leave out the green chilis and lessened the spices a little (didn’t think the littles would eat it, otherwise). They all had seconds! And we served homemade cheddar biscuits with it…. we may all explode!

  9. JadeSylver
    February 10, 2011 | 9:06 am

    We had this last night for supper last, it was amazing. We are gluten free so I used cornstarch instead of flour. I think we found our new favorite clam chowder. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Liz
      June 18, 2011 | 2:16 pm

      Thank you! I was just wondering myself how I could make this gluten-free. Will try it with cornstarch or even arrowroot powder. :D

  10. Kevin Smith via Facebook
    June 18, 2011 | 2:19 pm

    Ohhh sweet goodness. You owe me a new keyboard, because the DROOL just ruined mine!

  11. Ig Vigé via Facebook
    June 18, 2011 | 2:28 pm

    I’m having fresh organic asparagus/cabbage/cilantro in chicken broth + chicken and spiced up with vinegar and Tabasco .. it’s pretty dang yumm!

  12. Cassie Barden via Facebook
    June 18, 2011 | 4:01 pm

    That sounds AMAZING. My boyfriend doesn’t like most soups (he’s nuts) but he does like denser, creamier soups and bacon, so I think he’d like this! And if he doesn’t like it, more for me!

  13. Margaret Fulmer Wolf via Facebook
    June 18, 2011 | 4:11 pm

    Oh that sounds yummy!

  14. Shanah Collins via Facebook
    June 18, 2011 | 4:23 pm

    That looks amazingling good! My fiancée doesn’t do soups either. I wait until he’s away and live off soup daily! I’ll be adding that to my try list!

  15. Elizabeth Ours via Facebook
    June 21, 2011 | 8:48 am

    No one here wants too eat soup when it is hoovering around 100 degrees F!

  16. Melissa
    December 11, 2011 | 10:27 am

    I really got into clam chowder over the summer in San Francisco, but before that, i’d never been brave enough to try it. I can’t wait to try this version, it includes green chiles, which I ADORE

  17. Kyler
    October 19, 2012 | 4:40 pm

    How many people does it feed? We have our annual “Soup night “competition and me and My dad need to feed at least 8.

  18. Colleen
    January 22, 2013 | 8:08 pm

    It’s currently 21 degrees where I live so I made this tonight to warm us up. My husband said, “Wow, this soup is really good” multiple times, My 10 year-old had two full bowls, and my baby couldn’t get enough. Delish!

  19. Erin
    October 2, 2013 | 8:57 pm

    Kristen, I have a question for you about this recipe. I have made it twice, and both times I haven’t been able to get the roux to thicken. It’s probably just me, but I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I melt the butter over medium heat and then slowly add in the flour, stirring the whole time. I then keep it on medium heat and stir for anywhere from 20-30 minutes and it never thickens beyond the texture of gravy. Definitely never pasty. Any thoughts or suggestions? I’ve always just ended up cheating after 30 minutes and throwing in some arrowroot powder to thicken it up a bit.

    • Kristen
      October 2, 2013 | 9:00 pm

      I’m confused? You wrote, “It never thickens beyond the texture of gravy,” but it’s supposed to be the texture of gravy. So it sounds like you’re doing it right.

  20. Dori
    January 10, 2014 | 10:25 pm

    I have a casein allergy, so assuming I could use coconut or almond mild??

  21. Marianne
    August 20, 2014 | 2:13 pm

    I just put together some oyster stew with green chilis and some lox I had on hand. Amazing. The lox gives the smoky flavor that bacon adds, but also a complex fish flavor that really compliments the oysters. Wow!

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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