Dear SOS: While on vacation in New England, I ordered a bowl of clam chowder. Like everything else I tasted, the chowder was excellent. Can you obtain a recipe?
Tracy Z. Pinella
Dear Tracy: The Legal Sea Foods restaurant chain, which provided this recipe, sells 700 gallons of chowder each week, so we know it’s popular. The recipe came with a caveat: “Don’t try to economize by cutting back on the amount of clams or cream because the chowder will never taste as flavorful as ours.”
Use concentrated clam base, found in the soup aisle, or frozen stock for the fish stock.
Scrub clams well under cold running water. Place in a large pot along with garlic and water. Steam clams just until opened, about 6 to 10 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and shell clams, reserving broth (there should be about 4 cups).
Mince clam flesh and set aside. Strain clam broth through cheesecloth and set aside.
In a large soup pot, fry salt pork over medium heat until crisp. Remove cracklings and set aside. Add onions and saute in fat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cooked through but not browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add reserved clam broth and fish stock and whisk to remove any flour lumps.
Bring liquid to boil, add potatoes, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in reserved clams, salt pork cracklings and cream. Heat chowder until hot. Serve in large soup bowls with oyster crackers, if desired.
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