RECIPE: CLAM CHOWDER BUTTONWOODS RHODE ISLAND

3 dozen fresh quahogs
1 yellow onion, cut into medium size dice
6 medium size red potatoes cut into chunks so that each chunk has red skin attached
1/4 lb. salt pork cut into 1/4" dice
1/2 pint whipping cream

Scrub the clams and put them in a large pot with a lid. Add 1/2" water to the pot, cover and turn the heat to high. Once the water begins to boil and steam, check the pot every minute or so. The quahogs will start popping open. Use tongs to life them from the pot (it will get really full and bubbly) as soon as they  open.  It doesn't happen all at once, so have a big bowl at the ready and pluck them out as you go. There's always a couple of stragglers who will need some extra time. Of course if they won't open under any circumstances toss those out. 

Take the pot off the heat and let the liquid cool.  You should have about 1 – 1/2 quarts. If you come up short you could add bottled clam juice but kind of goes against the grain of what we're doing here.

When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells. Toss out the shells. Pour any accumulated juices in the bowl back into the pot.

Pour the clam broth into a large (2 qt.) measuring cup, or another large vessel. You want to be able to see the solids sink to the bottom.

Wipe out the original pot and return to medium heat. Sweat the diced salt pork for 3-4 minutes to render the fat. Don't let it brown. Add the onions and sweat them in the pork fat for 5 minutes until they wilt and are translucent. Again, careful not to brown them.

Pour the reserved broth into the pot, careful hold back the solids that settled at the bottom. Add the potatoes and simmer for 15-20 until the potatoes are cooked through and nicely soft.

Meanwhile pulse the clams in a food processor. Take it slow.  You want the chunks to be recognizable, not a puree by any means.  When the potatoes are cooked through, stir in the clams and bring everything back to the simmer. Then add cream, and again, bring just to a simmer. Serve immediately.

With all that clam juice and salt pork you  won't need to add any additional salt, though a few good grinds of pepper are a must.

Serve with a garnish of parsley sprig and oyster crackers and Tabasco sauce on the side.   

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Written by on October 5, 2010 under ALL RECIPES.



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