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Betsy’s Christmas Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?  Beautiful trees?  Family and friends?? How about food?  My mom’s family was from New England and every year on Christmas Eve they had Oyster Stew for dinner.  I am not a fan.  But Chowder??  I LOVE Clam Chowder.

We have a restaurant in Kansas City, Bristol Seafood.  Years ago the Bristol used to be located on the Country Club Plaza.  In case you’ve never seen the Kansas City Plaza, this is it.

Clam Chowder

I used to love sitting in the Bristol overlooking the snow falling around the Plaza lights at Christmas.  The Bristol had the most wonderful Clam Chowder; rich and creamy, but not too thick, with wonderful clam flavor.  I’ve been working on perfecting my version of the Bristol’s Clam Chowder.   The Bristol has sadly moved from the Plaza, but this Clam Chowder is very close to what I used to love there.  Merry Christmas and enjoy!



4.5 from 2 votes
clam chowder
Betsy's Christmas Clam Chowder
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Mom tells stories of the Maine relatives having Oyster Stew for Christmas Eve. I like the idea of annual traditions, it helps tie generations together. I do not like the idea of oyster stew. This offers a nice compromise.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 bowls
  • 6 small Sour Dough Bread bowls
  • 6 strips bacon or meaty salt pork chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 (6.5 ounce cans) chopped or minced clams - Reserve the liquid
  • 2 (10 ounce cans) Chicken of the Sea Whole Baby Clams - Reserve the liquid
  • 2 (8 ounce bottles) clam juice
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 inch large russet potatoes peeled and cut into ~½ cubes
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cup water
  • 3 ¼ cup Half and Half
  • 2 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • Oyster Crackers for serving
  1. In a Dutch oven (or large heavy bottom poover medium heat, cook bacon strips until medium browned. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon bacon grease. The bacon can stay in the pot.
  2. Add a little water and scape bottom of pot to deglaze the bacon brownings on the bottom of the pot so they do not burn. Add onions and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a cup, whisk ½ cup of the bottled clam juice with 1/2 cup flour to dissolve the flour.

  4. Pour the clam juice mixture into pot through a strainer (to strain out any remaining lumps of the flour).
  5. To the pot add 2 cups water, potatoes, and the remaining juice from the 2 bottles of clam juice plus the juice from the 2 small cans of minced clams. (reserve the juice from the 2 larger cans of whole clams to thin the soup later should you desire.)
  6. Add salt, pepper, and celery salt.
  7. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently (making sure it does not burn on the bottofor 10 – 15 minutes or until potatoes are done.
  8. When potatoes are tender, add Half and Half, and butter. Cook on medium low about 5 minutes, stirring until heated through out.
  9. Just before serving add clams and serve. (If the clams cook for any length of time they will turn rubbery. All you’re wanting to do here is get them warm.)

Recipe Notes

Serve with French Bread, Saltine Crackers and Apple Cider

Mom used to tell stories of her relatives from Maine having Oyster Stew for Christmas Eve. I like the idea of annual traditions, it helps tie generations together. I do not like the idea of oyster stew. This offers a nice compromise.


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