One-Pot Wonders

Oyster and Spinach Chowder with Bacon

September 25, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 4 servings
Author Notes

This is a riff on a spinach and oyster soup that my dad used to make for himself on Friday night after a 12-hour day at our market. He'd always bring in any leftovers for my brother and me to share the next day. I added potatoes to make it a little heartier, and swapped baby spinach leaves for the regular spinach he would use. —inpatskitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

This soup is elegant in simplicity (few ingredients, few steps) and extremely satisfying in flavor (whoa!). I never cook oysters given the option not to, but if I had to make a cooked-oyster dish I would make this again, without any changes. I used Bar Harbor brand clam juice and the final chowder didn’t need any additional seasoning. Pouring that much cream into the soup reminded me of my chef instructor in school, who would have most likely called it “gilding the lily.” But it’s delicious, so hey… —Rebecca Vitale

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/2 dozen freshly-shucked oysters and their liquor
  • 1 1/2 cups clam juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion or 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced potatoes (small dice) -- I used Yukon Gold
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves, thick stems discarded
  • 1 pinch Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Combine the oyster liquor, clam juice, and water. Set aside.
  2. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion or leek in the butter and olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds more.
  3. Add the reserved broth and potatoes to the pot. Bring up to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the cream, bring back up to a simmer, and stir in the spinach. Cook until the spinach just barely wilts, then add the oysters and any accumulated juices. Bring back up to a simmer again and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until the oysters are just done. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • inpatskitchen
  • Erica Hanson
    Erica Hanson
  • Lynn D.
    Lynn D.

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

5 Reviews

Erica H. January 18, 2023
I included the bacon, though not necessary, and substituted a little bacon grease for some oil. My first chowder. It was perfect!
Lynn D. January 21, 2016
Made this last night and it was declicious. Used one-third cup white wine, subbed water for clam broth, added a little dried tarragon, and used whole milk because that's what I had. It's a complete meal, uses only one pot--what's not to like?
inpatskitchen January 21, 2016
Thanks Lynn! So glad you enjoyed
Lynn D. January 21, 2016
We threw in some more oysters and enjoyed the leftovers for lunch!
inpatskitchen January 21, 2016