Clam and prawn chowder

Clam and prawn chowder

Everyday Seafood
4 as a starter or light lunch

I make lots of different chowders, especially in winter, as I love the hearty and warming feeling it gives you when you eat one. This is a favourite: the salty clams and almost crunchy texture of the prawns are great with the rich broth. I like to add plenty of fresh herbs and a splash of verjus at the end to lift the flavours. Feel free to change any of the ingredients, but stick to the technique – it works so well.


Quantity Ingredient
16 raw prawns, shelled and heads removed and deveined, (keep shells and heads for cooking)
2 large handfuls live surf, venus or carpet shell clams
800ml whole milk
200ml double cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved (germ removed) and finely chopped
300g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, such as maris piper
125ml verjus
50ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 large banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
or 6 ordinary shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 leek, outer layer removed, halved lengthways, washed well and finely sliced
2 celery sticks, de-stringed (with a peeler) and cut into 1 cm dice
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
100ml dry cider
500ml fish stock
1/2 handful dill, leaves picked and finely chopped
1/2 handful tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the chowder, pour the milk and cream into a large pan and add the garlic and potatoes. Tie the prawn heads and shells in muslin and add to the pan. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another large pan with a tight-fitting lid over a high heat. When hot, add the clams and 100 ml verjus. Immediately put the lid on and steam for 3 minutes until the shells open. Tip the contents of the pan into a colander set over a bowl, to catch the juices. Set aside.
  3. Wipe the pan clean and place over a medium heat. When it is hot, add the rapeseed oil, followed by the shallots, leek, celery, celeriac and chilli. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes without colouring. Now pour in the cider and fish stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
  4. In the meantime, remove and discard the muslin bag of prawn shells from the chowder pan, then tip the contents of the pan into a blender and blitz until smooth. Add to the vegetables and stock, along with the reserved clam juice. Stir and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pick three-quarters of the clams out of their shells, leaving the rest in. Bring the chowder to a simmer. Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes, until they turn pink, then add all the clams, herbs and the remaining splash of verjus.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir the chowder gently to avoid breaking the clam shells. Ladle into a warmed tureen or soup bowls and drizzle some rapeseed oil over the surface. Serve straight away.
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