Low Carb Clam Chowder is the quintessential American comfort soup on a wintry New England day! Whether you call it “chowdah” or chowder, whether you are from New England or San Francisco, this delicious creamy Low Carb Clam Chowder packed with fresh clams is tasty and filling. Our Keto version will rival any you find at “Ye Olde Union Oyster House” in Boston or on Pier 39 in San Francisco! How is that for a boast?
On this July 4th, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, foodies need to remember that the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought for “chowder,” or at least by those who dined on the clam-laden soup. Daniel Webster, a true patriot, was a regular consumer. Herman Melville, the author of “Moby Dick,” devoted an entire chapter to clam chowder!
Years ago, I came across a wonderful clam chowder recipe. It was rich in potatoes, full of minced clams, and with a flavor of bacon that delighted the taste buds. The soup became a staple of our diet. It froze well and warmed many a cold wintry day when we lived in Pittsburgh. But, the potatoes are gone with our new Keto lifestyle. Adjustments have been made and we offer the recipe below as a tasty alternative to the original.
Bacon, minced clams with plenty of juice, a stick of butter, and heavy cream are the basic ingredients to make our clam chowder. Seasonings consist of “Old Bay,” Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, and our signature sherry for a full flavor. We garnish with bacon crumbles and smoked paprika for added flavor and presentation.
If we had to pick a key ingredient it would be the actual clam juice. We found 51 ounce cans of minced clams that are loaded with tasty natural clam juice. The tiny sardine size cans will also work, but make sure you get all of the juice from each and recognize that this will be an expensive soup using little cans. Our local Costco has 51 ounce cans of minced clams and juice that work perfectly. They are even at a reasonable price! Fresh clams would be wonderful, but not needed for a soup. Save those for steaming and dunked in butter!
Sauté at least 3/4 pound a regular thin-cut bacon that has been pre-chopped in the bottom of your stock pot. Make sure it is crispy, since it will soften when it is added back into the finished soup. Save some for your garnish. Most importantly, leave the bacon fat in the bottom of the pot to cook your celery and onion. That is where all the flavor comes from!
In our original recipe, we added all of the clam juice next and actually cooked the diced potatoes in the juice until partly softened. We do the same with our low-carb version. Cook the riced cauliflower in the clam juice until softened. The cauliflower replaces the potato as a thickener. Some recipes call for making a puree of the cooked cauliflower. We prefer to have some texture in each bite.
Make sure you taste the soup after adding the seasonings to make sure it is perfectly salted. You can also add a little hot sauce. We would recommend serving your soup with Cholula on the table so you can add heat, as needed.
Our final tips would be to cook the clams and reserved bacon at the end for only 3 minutes before serving. Otherwise, your clams will become tough. Your soup will thicken after you add the clams. However, if you like a thicker chowder you can add some cream cheese at the end. The soup will also thicken as it cools.
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