Maine Clam Chowder
- 1 quart fresh Maine clams, shucked raw
- 2 thin slices salt pork
- 1 small onion, diced in small pieces
- 4 cups diced (small) potatoes
- 1 cup water or enough to just show up through the potatoes
- salt and pepper
- 1½ quarts milk
- 1 tall can evaporated milk
- piece of butter
- common crackers
Using a kettle, fry out salt pork using a low heat. Remove pork and cook diced onion slowly in fat, taking care not to burn it. Add the 4 cups diced potatoes and the water— better add a little salt and pepper right now. Cover kettle, bring to steaming point, lower heat, and cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, using cutting board and a sharp knife, cut the head of each clam in two or three pieces. Do the same with the firm part of the clam and the soft part or bellies, also. No, I do not remove the black part. Save any juice you can.
When potatoes are soft, stir in the cut clams, cover pan again, let cook for 3 minutes (no longer, for it toughens the clams). Add 1½ quarts of milk and the evaporated milk. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary. Keep in mind that as the chowder ripens it may be salty enough. Add piece of butter or margarine.
The old recipes always advised us to allow chowder to ripen in refrigerator for several hours, or a day, and then to reheat it slowly over a very low heat. But now that we use homogenized milk, the ripening period often is omitted to avoid danger of the chowder separating, a problem sometimes associated with use of homogenized milk. The use of evaporated milk, as given in these recipes, also helps to avoid curdling.
Serve chowder with common crackers, Pilot crackers, or Maine blueberry muffins.
From Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish