Thursday, February 22, 2007

Boston-Style Clam Chowder

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy

12 oz. salt pork
1 onion, diced
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
2 cans of clams (10 oz. each)
1 bottled clam juice (8 oz.)
3 cups water
1 pint heavy cream
3 to 4 T cornstarch (optional)
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Salt and pepper

Dice salt pork into pieces. Place them in a large saucepan or pot and cook over medium low heat to render the fat. About 10 to 12 minutes. Take out the pork pieces and set aside on piece of paper towel.

Using the fat left in the pan, add onions and saute over medium heat until translucent. About 10 minutes. Add clam juice, water and potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add clams and cook for another two minutes.

Take pot off the heat and add cream. Return the salt pork pieces to the pot. Depending on how thick you like your chowder, you can add a cornstarch slurry to thicken your chowder. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little bit of water. Bring your pot to a boil and then slowly pour in the cornstarch, a little at a time, until it thickens to your desired consistency. (Pouring the cornstarch in at a boil helps to activate the cornstarch faster so then you can tell if your chowder is thick enough without pouring in too much of the cornstarch slurry.) Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 regular servings; about 12 for smaller party servings. Garnish with minced parsley on top.

TIP: A lot of the clam chowder recipes I found seemed to use salt pork, which is a really fatty piece of meat that’s popular in Southern cooking. Because I wanted to keep it real, I chose this route as well for my chowder. But you can replace salt pork with bacon if you can’t find salt pork in your grocery store. Or if you’re concerned about all the fat you’re using, you can substitute with Canadian bacon and saute your onions using two tablespoons of Canola oil. Another tip is when I’m done cooking the salt pork, I trim away the fatty parts and place the meaty bits on a tray under the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp them up before returning them to the chowder.

ALL CLAMMED UP: I use bottled clam juice because you never can tell what’s in the can of clams you buy. Ideally you want to buy clams sitting in their own juice (or liquor as some recipes describe it, although I find that odd since it’s not alcohol). For this chowder, I mixed two cans of clams. One was whole clams and the other was a can of clam pieces, giving me a nice mix and not breaking my budget by having to buy all whole clams.

IT'S A PARTY: To serve your clam chowder at a party, think of easy cups or glasses that can hold hot liquids. That way it makes it easy for your guests to drink the soup without a spoon. Above, I used tea cups.

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