This New England-style shrimp chowder is the perfect meal to enjoy on a summer evening. Get your delicious on with this mélange of shrimp, oysters, and veggies in this dish that’s creamy and comforting. You won’t have the oven heating the house, and everything cooks in one-pot for easy cleanup. Did I mention that bacon is also involved here? Oh yessss.
Did you ever eat something soooo good and felt trying to create a “better-for-you” version would not be worth it? That’s how I feel about this New England-style shrimp chowder.
We’ve got heavy cream, bacon, and a little butter going on in this one. It’s got a significant amount of saturated fats from added fat sources, but I would not change a thing.
Wondering how this recipe came to be? A few weeks ago, I was looking for a way to use up some conch that I had in the freezer. I ended up substituting conch for the clams in this Spend with Pennies New England clam chowder recipe.
My goodness, it was heavenly. I knew I needed to make it again. Since I was out of conch, I used a combination of shrimp and oysters, and switched up some of the seasonings.
Before long, this *amazing* New England-style shrimp chowder was born. It needs to be shared. Good thing I have this website to spread the word!
I used Crown Prince smoked oysters in olive oil for this recipe. I’ve been having trouble finding them locally lately. Luckily, Amazon carries them for less than I was buying them for in the stores.
Purchasing a bulk pack was no problem for me. I’ve been known to eat them straight out of the can. Haha
Psst… Here’s a little secret
If you’ve been following my site for a while, you may remember this easy seafood chowder recipe from last year. It’s good if you’re looking for a lighter recipe… but here’s where I am going to get really honest with you.
This shrimp chowder with the heavy cream, butter, and bacon is SO MUCH BETTER. This recipe is only about 130 calories more per serving and IMVHO it is worth it. 100%
Through the years, I’ve determined that enjoying occasional meal indulgences helps to prevent me from feeling deprived. As a result, I am less likely to snack later. The net result is that I get to enjoy fully satisfying meals AND maintain a healthy weight.
Is this the strategy that you should use? I can’t answer that question as I don’t know you, your goals, or your medical history.
Something to keep in mind is that replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. If I chose the chowder that is lower in saturated fat but ended up snacking on 130 calories of cookies later, I most likely did not make a healthier choice.
(P.S. Two Oreos are 130 calories. Most of us do not stop at two. Choosing the lighter meal followed by cookies in this case may also lead to excess calorie consumption.)
The Dietary Guidelines permits <10% of our calories to come from added sugars and <10% from saturated fats. They recognize that (for most people) there are “not enough calories available after meeting food group needs to consume 10 percent of calories from added sugars and 10 percent of calories from saturated fats and still stay within calorie limits.” Thus, the 80/20 rule doesn’t really work if you want to have a balanced diet AND maintain a healthy weight.
So, what’s a good approach?
Consuming 20% of your total calories from added sugars and saturated fats is not optimal, according to the Dietary Guidelines. Rather than 80/20, I personally aim for 90/10 on most days. That is, 90% of calories from “better for you” options with discretionary calories for the other 10% (or less).
The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to cut out the added sugar most days and not worry about saturated fat. I get to enjoy delicious and satiating meals, which makes it easier to snack less and maintain a healthy weight. (I also continue to enjoy sugary desserts on holidays and likely enjoy them more because they are a special treat.)
Again, I can’t say what might be a good approach for you. If your weight loss strategy is to use low-fat, lower-calorie meals and daily treats with added sugar, my easy seafood chowder recipe may be a good fit. This is similar to how I did things early in my weight loss journey, and I was able to make good progress.
On the other hand, if your goal is to get more of your calories from meals instead of snacks, this shrimp chowder recipe may work for you.
As for me, I’m enjoying the heck out of this chowder. It’s definitely making it back on the dinner menu a few times this summer.
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let’s get cooking!
Shrimp Chowder (New England Style)
- 1 lb. shrimp, chopped small (454 grams; tail-off, peeled)
- 3.5 ounces smoked oysters packed in olive oil, drained, chopped small (99 grams)
- 16 ounces clam juice (480 mL)
- 6 strips bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1¼ lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, chopped (567 grams; do not peel)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- sprinkle of red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup spelt flour
- 2½ cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon. When cooked, remove half of the bacon from the pot and set aside. Add the butter to the bacon and bacon grease remaining in the pot.
- Saute the onion and celery in the pot until softened.
- Add the potatoes, garlic, and spelt flour to the pot. Stir the ingredients together over medium heat for approximately 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken broth, clam juice, bay leaves, red pepper, black pepper, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, oysters, and heavy cream. Heat until the shrimp is cooked through, approximately 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves from the pot and discard.
- Put the chowder into bowls and garnish with the cooked bacon that was set aside and the parsley.
Where do you find your personal balance between health and indulgence? There’s no one right answer for all of us; it’s something we each need to explore for ourselves. I’d say that they can happily coexist and overlap in most of our lives.
If you are a New England chowder lover, I hope that you fall in love with this shrimp chowder recipe. I think it is absolutely divine!