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Award Winning (!!) Crabby Clam Chowder

Posted by Kira DeRito on

Have you heard the exciting news? 

We won the 2015 Port of Olympia Chowder Challenge!  

What an exciting moment!  I don't think I've ever actually 'won' anything before - if you were there and voted for us, thank you and thank you and thank you again!  

Quite a few people have been wondering about coming into the shop for a cup of our chowder and we want to make it clear that the clam chowder we serve at the shop is very tasty, (come try a free sample!) but it is not quite the recipe that won the competition. For our shop chowder we swap the local razor clams for a canned chopped sea clam and the crab meat is missing altogether. What we *do* want to offer up is our award wining chowder recipe. This is where we shine, and want to continue to invest the majority of our time and energy - we are a support system for the home chef. We provide outstanding ingredients, recipes and tips for you to prepare the finest of meals in your home for your friends and family. Our focus is the small table, the gathering of people, the extension of community and the sharing and witnessing of life, love and the pursuit of happiness over real dishes - not paper cups with plastic spoons. And in that spirit, we are happy to present our Crabby Clam Chowder recipe! We hope that 100 years from now someone's grandchild serves up a pot for their family, and announces to the room that this is their ridiculously delicious special family recipe. Feel free to cut down on the butter, add bacon, tuck a couple of bay leaves in with the broth, or switch to sweet onion - tweak and adjust and make it your own. Enjoy!  Makes about one gallon of fabulous chowder!  


  • ½ yellow onion (about one heaping cup chopped)
  • 3 stems celery (about one heaping cup chopped)
  • ¾ pound carrots (about one heaping cup, peeled and chopped)
  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes (about 4 cups, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 T minced fresh thyme leaves (or 2 T dry)
  • ¾ pound crabmeat
  • 1 pound razor clams
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 quart (4 cups) stock (fish, vegetable or chicken - all will work!)
  • 3 cups milk (we used whole milk)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 sticks butter
  • ½ cup flour

Start by preparing your vegetables, herbs and clams - do the potatoes last so they don't start to brown while you're chopping other things.

Peel and dice the onion, trim, split and mince the celery, peel and finely chop the carrots, mince the thyme, and finally, peel and chop the potatoes.

We also want to mince the clams, but be careful to save any juice that your clams are in - that's outstanding flavor! Our cleaned razor clams come in a vacuum packed package, so open the pack over a bowl to catch any clam juice, then pull out each clam and chop into small pieces.  

In a large stock pot, melt one stick of butter (8T) and sauté the onion, celery, carrot and potato for about 10 minutes or until the onion has started to look translucent. Add the thyme and the salt and pepper, and toss.

Next up are the clams! Add the minced clams (and any juice) to the pot, and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Now pour in most of the stock/broth, reserving about a cup for preparing the roux. Set the pot on the back burner on low and let simmer for 15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan, melt the second stick of butter (8T) over medium heat, and then sprinkle the flour in - we're making a buttery roux to thicken the soup! Whisk the flour into the butter to combine, and cook over medium-low heat for about 4 minutes. Turn the burner off and get ready to flex your whisking muscles! Slowly pour the reserved cup of broth into the flour/butter mixture while you whisk like a crazy person - it's going to get very thick, very fast, but just keep whisking and pouring until you've got it combined. Now transfer the whisk to the soup pot, and pour the roux into the hot soup while you (once again) whisk to avoid lumps. Once you've got the roux combined with the soup you should see the broth thickening a bit - continue to simmer (we're also tenderizing the clams by cooking them) for 10 minutes more. During this time you can add the cream cheese and slowly stir to let it melt into the soup.  

Lastly, we add the milk and the crabmeat, folding to combine. Your award winning chowder is finished! Feel free to keep simmering if you'd like to let the flavors combine and deepen and to have your veggies get a bit more tender (we keep our finished soup on low for about 30 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes to make sure the bottom doesn't scorch), and we've found that the soup tastes even better on the second day. If it gets too thick, just add a little more milk. Enjoy! 

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  • I’m from South Florida where there is plenty of Chowder to go around. I have to say this is the BEST clam chowder I’ve ever had! Great job and thanks for sharing your recipe

    DINORAH on

  • Can you freeze this?

    Robin on

  • Hi Robin! We had it in the freezer for a week and it thawed nicely for us. I’m not sure about longer-term freezing, but short term is ‘thumbs up’!

    Olympia Seafood on

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