Monday, January 7, 2013

National Soup Month: Clam Chowder

Legal Sea Foods' Clam Chowder has been served at every Presidential Inauguration since 1981.  Stop into the restaurant to give it a taste or make your own batch at home!

Ingredients for 8 servings:
4 quarts        little-neck clams
1        garlic clove, chopped
2 oz        salt pork, finely chopped

2         onions (about 2 cups)
3 T        unbleached, all-purpose flour
4 ½ cups    clam broth
3 cups        fish stock
1 ½ lb        potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
2 cups        light cream
Oyster Crackers (optional)
Preparation Method:

  1. Place clean clams in a large pot along with garlic and 1 cup water. Steam the clams just until they open, 6-8 minutes, depending on their size. Drain the clams, reserving the broth. Let cool slightly.
  2. Mince the clam flesh and set aside. You should have about 1 2/3 cups chopped clams.
  3. Filter the clam broth through either coffee filters or cheese cloth; set aside.
  4. In a large, heavy pot, slowly render the salt pork. Remove the cracklings with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
  5. Slowly cook the onions in the fat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until cooked through but not browned.
  6. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the reserved clam broth and the fish stock, and whisk to remove any flour lumps.
  8. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the potatoes, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  9. Stir in the reserved clams, salt pork cracklings, and light cream. Heat the chowder until it is the temperature you prefer.
  10. Serve in large soup bowls with oyster crackers on the side, if desired.

Chef’s Tip:

  • Purchase the best-quality clam broth you can find.  It’s the foundation of the finished soup.  
  • Make sure the clams you purchase are tightly closed and have no odor.
  • Fully render the bacon fat.  That step will really develop the flavor.

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