Even though we are embarking on spring, locally we are still encountering more rain and cold weather than we are used to. Making the recent cold weather a perfect time to make soup. I really wanted to post this a few weeks ago when it was National Clam Chowder Day because this is my husband’s favorite soup. Normally, he will just buy a can of soup when he gets a craving because he didn’t want to put me out to make it. Then we got an Instant Pot and I told him I wanted to try and make Clam Chowder. The rest is history and he LOVES this Clam Chowder recipe especially since it’s so easy to make.
Let me just preface this recipe with the fact that I am not a seafood eater – I know…I KNOW. The more I post, the more you are probably realizing how quirky and picky I am when it comes to my protein consumption. However, this soup is actually something I enjoy!!! The clams are not fishy and basically, have the same texture as chicken.
Often, Clam Chowder is considered a thick and chunky soup that you get in fancy restaurants or on the east coast. In fact, I use to make thick and chunky Clam Chowder every Friday in one of the fancy restaurants I worked in, especially during the season of Lent. This soup, I believe, is even better than the restaurant-grade soup I once made because I don’t use any flour. Restaurant soups usually require tons of flour to keep them from breaking while staying at the correct temperature during the course of service.
The creaminess and lack of flour make the taste of this soup super delicate and the Instant Pot pressure makes the taste more concentrated hence more delicious. Not to mention, this soup can be made in less than 15 minutes after prepping! Yes, you read that right – LESS THAN 15 MINUTES! Depending on how fast you can prep your soup, your soup can be ready in like 20-25 minutes.
What I think is also key to this soup is the clam juice that I use. This clam juice makes it so that the flavor is organically there. Using the juice from the canned clams is important, but there is never enough, and you have to add water to compensate for the needed liquid needed to make soup. This bottled juice makes it so that you have enough juicy flavor, and then some, to get the boldest and most natural clam flavor possible.
Oh! Did I tell you that this recipe has bacon in it?
This ingredient makes the flavor incorporated with clams simply AH-mazing! Overall, this soup could not be any more flavorful or easier to make.
Try it and leave me a comment on what you think about it!
- 2 cans of clams, drained (reserve the juice) and washed
- 4 pieces of bacon, diced
- 4 T butter
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups of bottled clam juice, adding the juice from the canned clams as well
- 1 T dried thyme
- 1 t salt
- 1 T black pepper
- 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, large dice
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 2 cans of clams, drained and washed
- 2 T cornstarch
- Chives, chopped - optional
- Open the cans of clams, reserve the juice, and wash the clams with water.
- Turn on the Instant Pot’s Sauté function. Add the bacon, mixing occasionally, until browned and the fat has rendered in the bowl.
- Add in the butter, onion, celery, and cook until the vegetables are translucent and the fond (the brown bits on the bottom of the bowl) is incorporated.
- Mix in the garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme until everything is blended together.
- Pour in the clam juice and place the potatoes into the liquid.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and seal it.
- Turn off the Sauté mode.
- Turn on the Manuel function and cook for 4 minutes. Let the soup sit for 4 more minutes and then quick release the pressure pin very carefully.
- Open the lid and turn on the Sauté mode.
- Add the heavy cream and bring to a low boil. Add the cornstarch (see Kitchen Tips) and bring back to a low boil.
- Turn the Instant Pot on the Warming Mode and ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with chives if using, and find some bread to serve the soup with.
Kitchen tips ♡
♡ Make sure you rinse off your clams with water once you get them out of the cans. Taking this step will keep your soup from having a “sandy” texture
♡ I use cornstarch as a thickener because it is easier to use than flour. I take about a ¼ cup of soup out of the Instant Pot bowl, once the pressure has subsided and the lid is able to be taken off, and place the soup in a mixing bowl. I then add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to the isolated soup and whisk in the cornstarch until it is fully incorporated. Then in a slow stream, whisk the cornstarch mixture back into the soup that is in the Instant Pot bowl. Let the soup come to a boil and you will see the soup will begin to thicken.
♡ You can cut the potatoes, and the other veggies, the day before. You just need to make sure that you place the cut-up potatoes in water until you use. Potatoes turn brown when they oxidize with the air. When ready to use, strain the potatoes out of the water and place into the liquid in the Instant Pot bowl.
♡ I typically use dried thyme leaves although feel free to use fresh thyme. The only difference is that you will want to double the amount of fresh thyme you use. You can also add parsley and rosemary if you want to create even more flavor.