Tag: chowder

In New England, chowder is a beloved dish as rich in tradition as it is in flavor, but what exactly that flavor should be remains open to interpretation.

Be sure to read more about chowder and all of the best seafood in our FREE guide, Best of New England Seafood Recipes: How to Cook Scallops, How to Make Clam Chowder, Cooking Lobster Tails, Cod Fillet Recipes, Haddock Recipes and More!

It’s actually no surprise that we can’t agree, since the very philosophy of what makes chowder chowder is subject to debate. This stew-like dish has been around for centuries, so its origins are understandably murky. While the name is thought to derive from the French chaudière, referring not only to the “cauldron” but the ingredients within, the earliest published recipe comes from the September 23, 1751, edition of the Boston Evening Post. A layered “chouder” of onion, potatoes, salt pork, and fish (milk came later) was seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs such as thyme, and served with hard crackers or “Biscuit.” Later, flour or cracker crumbs were added as a thickener.

As time passed, recipes became even more diverse, with enough variation to have us scratching our heads. Clam chowder is often considered the perennial classic, but should the base include bacon or salt pork? Or none at all? Fish or seafood chowder are also popular, allowing the chef to make use of whatever fish is on sale, or toss in a handful of shrimp or scallops, but should it be thickened with flour or crumbled crackers? Should there be milk or cream? Corn, lobster, even chicken …we just can’t stop finding ways to get our fix.

And then there are the regional recipes that go beyond “to flour or not to flour.” In parts of Rhode Island, the savory clear-broth variety omits the dairy altogether, and if that’s not enough to have some Yankees seeing red, this next one often literally does. With tomatoes added to the broth instead of dairy, the treat known as “Manhattan Clam Chowder” is a familiar sight in parts of southern Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Chowder was never meant to be fancy, but it does have a way of tugging at the heartstrings of our collective Yankee stomachs that has made it a classic at both the finest restaurants and the simplest home kitchens. So whether you like it creamy and full of clams, light with plenty of fish, or brimming with fresh, sweet corn, we say any bowl of chowder that honors tradition while honoring local flavors is chowder enough for us.

New England Traveler

Essex Clamfest and Clam Chowder Competition

The annual Essex Clamfest has everything the small town is known for including pony rides, arts and crafts, K-9 demonstrations and, of course, the ever popular clam chowder competition. Nearly 1,000 people tasted the best of the best in 2015, each voting for their favorite in the People’s Choice Award,

New England Today

Neptune Oyster

This tiny North End eatery serves some of the best seafood in Boston. The chowder trades the usual thickened base for a vibrant, intensely clammy broth. The secret? It’s lightly enriched with milk, cream, and potatoes and accented with a hint of oregano. 63 Salem St., Boston. 617-742-3474; neptuneoyster.com

New England Traveler

2016 Williston Chowder Challenge

The Williston Chowder Challenge will benefit the Williston Community Food Shelf and the Williston Police Officers’ Association.Established in 2011, The Williston Chowder Challenge is a friendly competition to let the public and culinary experts pick their favorite chowder. Recognition will be given in two categories: Peoples’ Choice Award and

New England Today

Farmer Brown’s Farm Stand

Farmer Bob Brown and his wife, Kathy, have found their true calling in the chowder they serve at this year-round market. It’s a thick, stick-to-your-ribs style, supremely creamy, but fresh and brimming with clams. 210 Maple St., Middleton. 978-774-7110; farmerbrownsfarmstand.com

New England Traveler

32nd Charlestown Seafood Festival

A gastronomic extravaganza at Ninigret Park highlights the state’s best seafood—lobsters, steamers, chowder, fish and chips, clam cakes, and a raw bar—plus a bevy of other foods to suit all tastes. Plus amusement rides, a car show, a petting zoo, raffles, music, and more.

New England Today

Turner Fisheries

The oyster crackers are house-made, and the stew is a hearty mixture of quahogs and cherrystones for intense clam flavor. A light hand with the flour keeps the chowder saucy, not gloppy. Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston. 617-424-7425; turnersboston.com

New England Today

The Bite

Between the creamy chowder, stuffed with chopped quahogs and accented with sweet onions, and the sunset views over the harbor, this little shingled Martha’s Vineyard shack draws a hungry crowd during peak season. 29 Basin Road, Menemsha. 508-645-9239; thebitemenemsha.com

New England Traveler

Black Dog Tavern

The Black Dog Tavern was founded in 1971 by Captain Robert Douglas, who wanted a place where locals could go and share a meal, year round. But first, it began with some dreams. Captain Douglas, originally from Chicago, came to the Vineyard at a young age and knew he wanted

New England Today

Chatham Pier Fish Market

Served in takeout containers, this chowder puts on no airs. But it has incredible fresh-from-the-sea flavor, a hint of smoke from the bacon, and just the right amount of milk to thicken it without overwhelming it. 45 Barcliff Ave. Extension, Chatham. 508-945-3474; chathampierfishmarket.com

New England Traveler

Blount Clam Shack & Soup Store

Blount’s Fine Foods claims to be the largest producer of lobster bisque in the country and the biggest producer of clam chowder in New England. Those two are just the beginning, though. Blount’s butternut squash and apple soup, scallop-and-bacon chowder, and fire-roasted vegetable soup are equally impressive. BEST SOUPS.

New England Today

Massachusetts Dining by the Water

Through some magic of architecture, the dining room at The Red Inn promotes the illusion of floating, like the many boats just outside in Provincetown Harbor–or maybe we were seeing things after our pre-lunch bike ride through the dunes to one of the lighthouses. The sea-level view here seems never-ending;

New England Traveler

Bobette’s Takeout

Best Chowder ChoiceChoose mussel chowder or other flavor-graced bowls, such as “Connecticut Clams Casino Chowder,” “Drunk Tomato Tortellini,” “Sweet to Heat Chili,” and cream of portobello mushroom soup. Add sandwiches and salads.

Charlie’s Diner & Grill

Best Diner PotatoesSteve and Charlie Turner, who operate this circa-1950 Worcester Lunch Car #816, know spuds. They serve them as hand-cut french fries, in potato salad, in chowder, as home fries, and as a key component of corned-beef hash. There’s a separate bar and grill on the side–but the original

Chatham Pier Fish Market

Served in takeout containers, this chowder puts on no airs. But it has incredible fresh-from-the-sea flavor, a hint of smoke from the bacon, and just the right amount of milk to thicken it without overwhelming it.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2011

Collins Brothers Chowder Co.

BEST TO-GO MEALLocal Nashua-area residents and regular visitors know that each Thursday through Saturday they can line up at this small storefront and sample the dozens of homemade soups in ready-to-go containers, including favorites such as the surprisingly good “Thanksgiving soup” (think roast turkey, gravy, and stuffing), Hungarian mushroom, and

Delekta Pharmacy

Impassioned arguments may be waged over which clam shack serves the best chowder and clam cakes, but nary a soul will disagree that old-school Delekta’s is the king of “cabinets” (Rhode Island frappes). Hands-down favorite: coffee (the syrup is a closely guarded family recipe). BEST COFFEE CABINET.

DiMare Seafood Marketplace, Restaurant & Bar

Real Rhode Island clam chowder has no cream (that’s New England chowder) and no tomatoes (that’s Manhattan chowder). DiMare’s version of Rhode Island “clear chowder” is based on the recipe of the owner’s father, a retired U.S. Navy commander. A bowl with a jumbo stuffie makes a meal. BEST RHODE

Dolphin Chowder House

Dolphin Chowder House

At the Dolphin Marina and Restaurant, you can dine on Maine coastal fare, including Maine lobster dinners, fresh, local seafood, and hand-cut steaks. The waterfront location offers outstanding views of Casco Bay and its many islands. Located on the tip of Basin Point, South Harpswell, and at the water’s edge

Farmer Brown’s Farm Stand

Farmer Bob Brown and his wife, Kathy, have found their true calling in the chowder they serve at this year-round market. It’s a thick, stick-to-your-ribs style, supremely creamy, but fresh and brimming with clams.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2011

Jeff s Maine Seafood

Proving that a landlocked state doesn’t have to fall short when it comes to seafood, Jeff’s has been serving ocean-fresh fish and shellfish for 25 years. Favorites include clam chowder, grilled swordfish, and pecan-crusted salmon. Meat, poultry, and pasta, too. Entrees: from $20. Best Ocean Fresh Fare

Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company

This fish house and raw bar is named for its most famous product: a clam-filled version of gluten-free chowder made without flour or butter. Slurp it with Katama Bay oysters at the bar, or take a dining table for a plate of grilled scallops with corn-and-herb risotto. BEST CLAM CHOWDER.

Melville Grille

Boat or drive to the marina-side restaurant at East Passage Yachting Center for the staff’s Portuguese fish chowder. Chef/owner Scott Cowell loads this decadent, paprika-pink soup with scallops, shrimp, cod, and mild chouri o. It’s twice been named seafood-chowder champ at Newport’s prestigious Great Chowder Cook-Off. Cup: $4.95. Best Fish

Migis Lodge

Visiting Migis is like stepping into an L.L. Bean catalog. Cabins and lodge are scattered under pines edging Sebago Lake’s shore. Then there are the beaches and boats, cookouts and cocktails, kids’ programs and family activities. Rates: from $268 per person per night (from $315 mid-July–August), including meals and most

Neptune Oyster

In our view, a truly great lobster roll has a few simple but firm requirements: fresh, sweet meat and plenty of it; light mayo or butter (your choice—we like choice); and a properly toasted bun. That’s just what Neptune Oyster offers in a classic bistro space just off the crowded

No Name Restaurant

No Name Restaurant

No Name Restaurant opened in 1917, and the name has been the same from day one. The original owner, Nick Contos, was asked by the local fishermen what he called the place and Nick would answer, “No name, come eat!” Since then, the Contos family has offered fresh seafood at

P&H Truck Stop

BEST HIGHWAY DINERTrucks and cars practically steer themselves off I-91 toward this eatery, where American and Canadian drivers (the menu is in English and French) plow into homemade chowders, Yankee pot roast, thick slabs of bread baked on site, and big-rig-size pieces of maple cream pie.Amble past the dozens of

Popovers On The Square

Popovers are only the tip of the iceberg on the menu at this congenial eatery, with lots of outdoor tables for warm-weather dining. But the light and airy treats are surprisingly versatile, whether served with maple butter for breakfast or accompanying clam chowder for lunch or dinner. Popovers even double

Sea Swirl Seafood Restaurant and Ice Cream

Sea Swirl Seafood Restaurant and Ice Cream

Celebrating 25 years! Featured in the New York Times & The Boston Globe “Sea Swirl is another classic of its kind, that sidelines great pints of fried clams,” – The Boston Globe. Visited by Rachael Ray of the Food Network Channel’s $40 A Day. Fresh seafood, burgers, fries, chowder

Snowvillage Inn

The inn’s chef, Ben Frieden, pulls from local farms for his flavorful cuisine. Fan favorites include lobster corn chowder with pea shoots and cedar-plank salmon with blueberry port glace. BEST NEW MENU.

SoNo Seaport Seafood

When you’re right on Norwalk Harbor, chowder, steamed seafood, or perfectly broiled sole is a treat, outside at a picnic table or inside in the dining room.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2010

Tallulah on Thames

Best ChowderDeconstructed, Tallulah’s outstanding clam chowder boils down to littlenecks in the shell, bacon, and cream poured tableside.

The Barnacle Restaurant

This old-school harborside favorite fairly hangs over the edge of a sea wall, serving countless bowls of creamy, briny chowder and fried-fish platters. A wall of windows looks out on the racing fleets of the town’s world-class sailors and many lobster boats.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2010

The Bite

Between the creamy chowder, stuffed with chopped quahogs and accented with sweet onions, and the sunset views over the harbor, this little shingled Martha’s Vineyard shack draws a hungry crowd during peak season.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2011

The Lawn at Castle Hill

The most scenic place in the state to grab a G&T and watch the water has upped the proverbial ante with the addition of an official moniker and a special al fresco menu. The view is even better when your belly is full of New England favorites such as clam

The Oar House

A seat on the deck looking out to Portsmouth Harbor, with a bowl of corn- and bacon-studded clam chowder (and maybe a lobster spring roll with hoisin dipping sauce), means an afternoon or evening well spent.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2010The Oar House offers up good food in an atmosphere of rowing

Thurston’s Lobster Pound

End of the road, end of the earth: Look for mountain views, bluebloods, bluehairs, and swarms of fishing boats.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2011Thurston’s is tops for off-the-boat-fresh lobster on Mount Desert Island.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2012The classic Maine lobster pound is a no-frills eatery where you can usually select your own lobster.

Turner Fisheries

The oyster crackers are house-made, and the stew is a hearty mixture of quahogs and cherrystones for intense clam flavor. A light hand with the flour keeps the chowder saucy, not gloppy.–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2011

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