What’s For Dinner?
Grandma Thurber’s Long Island Clam Chowder
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
This red chowder recipe has been in food blogger Betty Joan Thurber’s family for decades. She says, “The briny flavor of the clams and the saltiness of the pork really remind me of my early childhood growing up in New York. The recipe is a bit time consuming, but it makes a lot of chowder, and the flavors only get better as they mingle in the fridge.” -- John Kessler
Quahogs, very large clams, can be hard to find. If using regular-size fresh clams, supplement with clam meat, either canned or frozen, so that you have 2 to 3 cups of chopped clams.
Salt pork comes in 12-ounce packages, so you can use that amount, or for a smokier flavor, add a few strips of bacon to make a pound.
If you only have one large stockpot, cook the clams first and transfer broth and clams to bowls, then reuse the pot for the vegetable mixture. It will add about 20 minutes to the time. Using a food processor on pulse helps prep the veggies.
Hands on time: 45 minutes Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes Serves: 10
2 1/2 pounds white potatoes (not baking potatoes), peeled coarsely and chopped
12 to 16 ounces sliced salt pork or thick-cut bacon, cut off the rind if necessary, and coarsely chopped
4 to 5 celery ribs, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 to 3 large onions, peeled and diced
Freshly ground black pepper
3 dozen Quahog clams, scrubbed well (or regular clams with about 1 pound or 1 1/2 cups additional canned or frozen clams)
10 cups water
2 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled, uncooked, unseasoned tomatoes, drained and chopped
Meanwhile, in a large, deep stockpot over medium-high heat, cook salt pork breaking up pieces until it releases its fat and cooks through. Add the celery, carrots and onions. Cover and cook until onions are translucent and vegetables have softened, but still have some texture. Season with pepper, thyme and Tabasco to taste.
While the vegetables are cooking, in a very large stock pot, place clams and add 10 cups water, or more if needed to just cover the clams. Cover the pot and bring to a light boil. When clams have opened, remove pot from heat (begin checking after 5 to 10 minutes). Remove and reserve clams. When vegetables are done, strain clam liquid into vegetable pot. Add potatoes and tomatoes and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes on medium-low heat.
Remove reserved clams from shells and coarsely chop. Add clam meat and any extra liquid to pot, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.