Clam chowder in sourdough bowls


Chowders served in what the French call ‘en croustade’ are a bit of a speciality in California, though this white chowder would have originated in New England. I have written a few recipes for chowder in my time and as I’m not in the clam capital of the world I have made this with some white fish as well, as otherwise it takes a lot of clams.


  • 6 sourdough rolls or crusty rolls (roughly12cm/4½in diameter), tops removed, dough scooped out and discarded
  • 1kg/2lb 4oz fresh clams, scrubbed
  • 225g/8oz waxy potatoes, peeled and diced into 1.5cm/⅝in cubes
  • 40g/1½oz unsalted butter
  • 75g/2¾oz smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion or banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned, halved lengthways and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 30g/1oz plain flour
  • 500ml/18fl oz whole milk
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g/7oz cod fillet (or other white fish), skin removed, cut into 2cm/¾in pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 turns black peppermill
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • small handful flat-leaf parsley or chives, roughly chopped, to serve