#TasteofThursday Clam Chowder

“In this series I’ll share which B.C. wine pairs best with select recipes from the best chefs in B.C.” 

Thrilled to share this recipe from Chef Alex Chen. Chef Chen was one of our original contributors to #TasteofThursday and we are so pleased to welcome him back. Not only is Chef Chen an incredible chef he is such a nice person. I think his kindness and caring personality shines through in his recipes and all he does.

We are back to months with an “r” in them which means clams are perfect right now. Enjoy!

Clam Chowder

by Chef Alex Chen

This clam chowder is inspired by Chen’s youth on the West Coast of British Columbia.

Clam Stock

2 kg (5 lb) littleneck clams

15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil

10 ml (2 tsp) chopped shallots

2 cloves garlic

500 ml (2 cups) dry white wine

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

Rinse clams under cold water for 10 minutes. Drain.

In a heavy-bottom pot with a lid, warm oil; sweat shallots and garlic for 2 minutes over low heat. Add white wine, thyme, bay leaf and clams. Cover and steam until shells open.

Drain clams and liquid through a strainer, saving liquid for use in chowder.

Let clams cool for 20 minutes. Remove clams from shells and set aside for use in chowder. Discard shells and shallot mixture.


45 ml (3 tbsp) unsalted butter

15 ml (1 tbsp) oil

60 g (2 oz) salt pork

75 ml (1/3 cup) medium-diced leeks

150 ml (2/3 cup) chopped white onions

75 ml (1/3 cup) medium-diced fennel

75 ml (1/3 cup) medium-diced celery

1 clove garlic, chopped

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped shallots

150 ml (2/3 cup) medium-diced potatoes

20 ml (1 tbsp plus 1 tsp) all-purpose flour

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) clam stock

250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream

2 kg (5 lb) clams, shells removed (from clam stock recipe)

3 sprigs fresh thyme

0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) fennel pollen

Zest of 1/4 of a lemon

1 sprig fresh dill, chopped

0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) cayenne pepper

Salt and white pepper, to taste

Juice of 1/8 of a lemon

Warm butter and oil in a heavy-bottom pot on medium heat.

Add salt pork, leeks, onions, fennel, celery, garlic, shallots and potatoes. Sweat for 3 minutes.

Add flour and stir for another 30 seconds. Slowly add clam stock. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add cream. Simmer slowly for 15 minutes over low heat.

Stir in clams, thyme leaves, fennel pollen, lemon zest, dill and cayenne.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper. Balance flavours with lemon juice.

Makes 4 servings.

My suggested wine pairing:


Our flagship white wine is a classic Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. It is a wine of grace, elegance and age-worthy structure.


Light golden in the glass.


Intense aromas of grapefruit, lemon curd and meadow grasses.


The palate shows an array of flavours: lemon zest, ripe grapefruit, Anjou pear, pineapple and wisps of wood smoke all tied together with bright, crisp citrus acidity. On the palate the wine is full and rich with a softness resulting from sur-lie ageing. A lovely saline minerality strings it all together, through to the long finish.




Each vineyard block was separately harvested, by hand, at peak maturity. The grapes were whole-cluster pressed, and then fermented entirely in barrel (60% French oak puncheons, 40% stainless steel barrels) with the majority undergoing only wild, spontaneous fermentation. One third of the barrels were also allowed to undergo wild malolactic fermentation. All lots were barrel aged for nine months, on the lees, with lees stirring. The final wine was created by blending together just the very best barrel lots, in order to create a wine of true complexity and elegance.


This is a seafood wine par-excellence, but roast chicken or herb-crusted pork would be excellent too. Enjoyable now, this is a wine which will develop an added sense of richness with age

$24.90 available online

The Winery

Clos du Soleil is a small artisan winery and estate vineyard on the Upper Bench of the South Similkameen Valley, in British Columbia, Canada.

We produce ultra-premium quality wines, borrowing an aesthetic derived from the great wines of Bordeaux, but stamped with the flavours and aromas of our particular piece of rocky Similkameen land.  Through traditional winemaking techniques, informed by research, but adhering to the philosophies of minimal-interventionist winemaking and biodynamic viticulture, we produce wines that are complex and classic, ageable and elegant.

With thanks to Chef Alex Chen, Culinary Executive Chef, Sutton Place Hotels for this recipe. Feature image: clam chowder photo credit: Liela Kwok. (@leilalikes) Bottle shot and tasting notes courtesy of the winery. With thanks, I have received complimentary wine from Clos du Soleil for our #FavouriteThings feature, including a 2017 Capella. All opinions are my own.

If you would like to be featured on MyVanCity.ca please email myvancityval@nullgmail.com for details.

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