Spicy clam and white bean chowder

Neil Perry
Make this chowder smooth or chunky by either pureeing the beans, or not.
Make this chowder smooth or chunky by either pureeing the beans, or not. Photo: William Meppem

This simple chowder gets its thickness from the pureed beans and potato. If you prefer a chunkier soup, don't puree it. Chipotle chilli powder can also be used in the chowder as it provides a lovely smoky flavour.


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

200g canned cooked white beans

2 bintje or other waxy potatoes, peeled, finely diced and steamed until tender

500ml chicken stock

500g clams

100ml dry white wine

flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve

freshly ground pepper


Heat the oil on a low-medium heat in a large heavy-based saucepan or stockpot.

Add the onion, celery, ginger, garlic and a pinch of sea salt, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring until the onion is soft.

Add the spices and cook until fragrant.

Add the beans, potatoes and chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the clams and wine in a pot with a tight-fitting lid, cook until the clams open, then remove and set aside. Strain the juice into a container.

Add the clam juice to the soup mix and stir. Place three-quarters of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the saucepan and stir the puree and soup together. Add the clams and heat through, checking the seasoning.

Spoon into four bowls. Drizzle each with olive oil and ground pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with toasted bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil.



Sauvignon blanc
This 2012 Gembrook Hill ($25) sauvignon blanc from Victoria's Yarra Valley is softly textured with some lean lemon notes that provide a hint of elegance. The fresh fruit complements the spice in the chowder, while its restrained elegance allows the seafood to take the limelight.


Photography by William Meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.