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Imperfect Foods Clam Chowder with Garlicky Bread

Why should New England and Manhattan get all the credit for clam chowder?  Seattleites can rock out a pretty bombastic clam chowder, and we can do it with imperfect produce in under 15 minutes.  Drop mic!

Just under 15 minutes
1 Hot-tip
Seattle is best known for Starbucks, Amazon, Jimi Hendrix, and rain. Today, with this recipe, we will put Seattle on the map when it comes to clam chowder. And because Seattle is also known for sustainability and pioneering the nation’s food waste crisis, we’re doing it with Imperfect Foods. You don’t have to come from the north east to make some killer clams with uber garlicky bread and your produce doesn’t have to be perfectly shaped and blemish-free to be delicious. So grab a platonic friend and whip up this Seattle inspired, warm your belly, perfectly imperfect recipe tonight!


5-6 slices
1 stalk and 1 cup of top leaves
dried thyme
1 tablespoon for soup and 1 tablespoon for bread (or you can sub fresh sprigs)
1 clove for soup plus 10 cloves for bread (cancel date)
white wine
about ½ cup
clam juice
about a cup
heavy cream
½ cup
clams (soak in cold salted water before use)
1 ½ - 2 pounds
⅓ of a loaf, cut in half (like you’re making a sandwich)


2 tablespoons for soup plus 6 tablespoons for bread

totally optional

smoked paprika
if you’re going meatless, skip the bacon and add this


Start the soup
Place a large pot over med-high heat and toss in 2 tablespoons of butter. Give your bacon a rough chop and add it to the pot. Spritz with a bit of water to help it get crispy.
Building flavor
Slice your celery lengthwise into strips and then into tiny pieces. Add the celery to the pot. Dice the potatoes and add them to the pot. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of thyme into the pot and stir. Toss the garlic clove in whole. Add your white wine, clam juice, heavy cream, and bring to a boil.
Clam time
Remove each clam from the water, one at a time, and check that they are closed and not cracked. Toss all of your good clams into the soup. Cover your pot and let the clams steam in the soup.
Garlicky bread
Place a large pan over medium heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter to the hot pan. Grab the remaining garlic. Cut the end off one clove and set aside. Then place the rest of your garlic cloves on a cutting board and smash them. Add the cloves, paper and all, to the butter. Toss in a tablespoon of thyme and season with salt and pepper. Once the butter has melted, place your two pieces of bread, soft sides down, and fry them up.
Almost done
Give your celery tops a rough chop. Toss half in the soup and set the other half aside for garnish. Season with salt and pepper. Grab a plate and a bowl. Set the bowl on the plate and ladle some soup into the bowl. Garnish soup with a sprinkle of celery leaves. Pull the bread out of the pan once crispy. Grab your last clove of garlic and rub the cut end over the crispy surface of your bread pieces. Place your garlicky bread on the plate, alongside the soup, and enjoy!
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