Ivar's Clam Chowder Recipe

ivars clam chowderAbout 20 years ago, I spent a summer working at Ivar's Captain's Table Restaurant on Seattle's Elliott Bay. The restaurant always seemed to be busy that summer. By closing time, we would be exhausted but laden with tip money from our labors. To lighten the load, we would spend most if not all of our tips on Henry Weinards or Red Hooks in Pioneer Square usually at J&M Cafe.

Reflecting back on those days, I remember one of the many benefits that employees enjoyed at the Captain's Table was all the clam chowder that you could eat during your (short) lunch or dinner break. The clam chowder at Ivar's was (and still is) so good that I never got tired of it. This is not the exact recipe used at the restaurant, but if memory serves me correct it comes very close.

2 6.5 oz. cans minced clams
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 cups diced potatoes (about 3 Idaho potatoes)
3/4 cup flour
12 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cups half-and-half, at room temp
1/2 tspn sugar
1/2 tspn dry, ground sage
1/2 tspn dry, ground thyme
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a medium saucepan, add the juice from the cans of clams. Set the clams aside for later.
  2. Add the celery, onions, and potatoes to the saucepan. Add enough water to the saucepan to just cover the ingredients that you have added previously.
  3. Place a cover on the saucepan and heat over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  4. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter and whisk until the mixture becomes golden brown.
  5. Whisk the half-and-half into the butter and flour mixture (roux). Continue to cook this mixture over medium heat until it thickens (about 5 to 10 minutes).
  6. Add the vegetable mixture to the cream mixture along with the clams, sugar, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  7. Simmer over low heat until you are ready to serve. Serve with fresh sour dough bread.
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1 comment:

  1. Do you by chance remember how they did the RED chowder? Born & raised in Seattle, now living in Utah. I can get the white chowder at Costco, but it's the RED I crave and love!


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