North Carolina-Style Clam Chowder

Warm up with this unique take on traditional creamy New England clam chowder, courtesy of Will Gest of the now-defunct Boom Restaurant at Safe Harbor Pilots Point Marina in Westbrook, CT.

Gest’s version features chunks of sweet potato that lend a touch of southern flavor to this regional seafood staple. It’s a perfect way to keep warm during the offseason!

Prep Time:

  • 20-30 minutes


  • 2 quarts Ocean Fresh clam juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ Spanish onion, chopped
  • 5-6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups clams, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • ½ quart heavy cream
  • ½ pound unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ounce oregano
  • 1 ounce thyme
  • vegetable shortening or 10% oil


  • In a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot, add shortening or oil. Heat and add bacon; fry until
    soft. Add pepper, onion, celery, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and clam juice. Bing
    to a boil for approximately five minutes or until vegetables soften then add heavy
  • While soup heats, boil the sweet potatoes until soft (al dente). Drain, peel and
  • To make the roux (butter and flour mixture), melt half a pound of unsalted
    butter in a sauce pan and carefully fold in 12 ounces of flour with whisk until the
    mixture reaches a paste-like consistency.
  • In a stainless steel mixing bowl, add a scoop of roux and several cups of chowder
    and mix until roux has been absorbed. Transfer back to the main pot then repeat
    the process until all the roux has been mixed smoothly into the chowder. Add
    diced potatoes and serve with toasted bread or crackers.

Servings: 12 bowls