Recipe for New England clam chowder
George Berkowitz opened the first Legal Sea Foods restaurant in 1968, right next door to his father Harry's fish market in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The fish, simply broiled or fried, was served on paper plates at communal picnic tables. More than half a century later, Legal Sea Foods has outposts all over the United States, and their clam chowder is still the best in the world. Don't take my word for it; this chowder is so good that it's been served at every presidential inauguration since 1981. I didn't make the soup in the photo; I purchased it -- yes, the real Legal Sea Foods clam chowder -- at my local grocery store. Costco sells it, too, and you can buy online, but it's easy and much more economical to make it at home.
New England clam chowder
4 qts littleneck clams (about 1-2/3 cups yield, when cooked and chopped)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup water
2 oz salt pork, finely chopped
2 cups chopped onions
3 Tbsp flour
1-1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled, and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
4-1/2 cups clam broth
3 cups fish stock
2 cups light cream
Clean the clams and place them in a large pot along with the garlic and water. Steam the clams just until opened, about 6 to 10 minutes, depending upon their size. Drain and shell the clams, reserving the broth. Mince the clam flesh, and set aside. Filter the clam broth either through coffee filters or cheesecloth and set aside.
In a large, heavy pot slowly render the salt pork (cook over low heat until the fat has rendered out and the salt pork is crispy). Remove the cracklings and set them aside. Slowly cook the onions in the fat for about 6 minutes stirring frequently, or until cooked through but not browned. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the reserved clam broth and fish stock, and whisk to remove any flour lumps. Bring the liquid to boil, add the potatoes, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the reserved clams, salt-pork cracklings, and light cream. Heat the chowder until it is the temperature you prefer. Serve in large soup bowls, with oyster crackers on the side.