While this Frederick gal (me) is trying out a trial retirement down on Hatteras Island, I’m expanding my cooking repertoire to include more seafood obtained locally at the docks or — Yes! — clams from our backyard. My wonderful island native next-door neighbor, Mary, gave me a booklet her sister Dixie put together some years ago. Here is her mother’s recipe for Hatteras Island Clam Chowder. You will find this to be unlike other clam chowders you have made. It is quite tasty and simple, a staple of the island, which has an abundance of clams easily accessed. Try it and let us know what you think!
· 2 or three pieces of Salt Pork or Bacon
· 3 Cups Water
· 2 Cups Clams, fresh, raw, ground or rough-chopped, reserving the juice in them (see note at end regarding using canned clams)
· 1 Onion, rough chopped
· Black Pepper, to taste
· 4 Potatoes, diced
· ½ teaspoon dried Thyme, or 1-1/2 teaspoon fresh Thyme (thyme is optional)
· Fry Salt Pork or Bacon in a heavy pot.
· When brown, add 3 cups water.
· Add Clams and their Juice.
· Add Onion.
· Add Black Pepper to taste (I use ½ teaspoon).
· Bring to a boil.
· Add Potatoes, diced.
· Add Thyme (optional).
· Add a little more water, if necessary, but taste broth first in order not to dilute clam flavor.
· Simmer until Potatoes are soft.
· For a thicker chowder, cook longer or add more Potatoes.
*My Note: I like to add a little Thyme to this recipe. Although traditionally (and recommended) made with fresh clams, I suppose you can try this recipe with canned chopped clams; remember to use the juice from the can, too.