Tokeland Hotel Clam Chowder

2 medium potatoes, peeled

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup diced bacon (about 2 strips) (Benton’s, if you have it)

½ cup celery, diced (about two ribs)

½ cup shallot, diced

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper

½ cup flour

¼ cup white wine

3 cups half-and-half

1 cup bottled clam juice

Zest of ½ lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice

1 small bunch of thyme tied with cotton string

3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, plus up to 2 teaspoons more to finish

2 teaspoons hot sauce (Texas Pete, Crystal or your favorite), plus up to 2 teaspoons more to finish

1 cup razor clams (or a little more, plus any juices), cleaned and roughly chopped (about 10 clams)


Boil potatoes, quartered, for 10 minutes until just tender. Rinse in cold water to cool, then dice.

Melt butter, add bacon and cook until almost crispy over medium heat.

Add celery and shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until they just start to soften (about 3 to 4 minutes).

Add flour and stir until white color has cooked off (about 1 minute).

Add white wine and stir for 1 minute.

Add half-and-half, then about ¼ cup clam juice, while stirring constantly.

Add lemon zest, squeeze of lemon juice, thyme bundle, and Worcestershire and hot sauce.

Cook until starting to thicken, stirring often — don’t let it scorch.

Add as much of the diced potatoes as you like (maybe about 1½ cups) and the clams, then stir in the rest of the clam juice as the chowder (quickly) gets thicker.

Cook for a few minutes, stirring, then turn heat to low and taste. Season with salt, pepper and more Worcestershire and hot sauce, stirring in a little at a time while tasting — it will want about a teaspoon of salt and up to 2 teaspoons each of additional Worcestershire and hot sauce.

Serve sprinkled with extra thyme leaves and a pat of butter melting on top.

Heather Earnhardt