A straightforward New England chowder recipe with all the quintessential ingredients including whole quahog clams and the broth from their liquor. It's thickened only slightly to create a classic creamy texture while still retaining the briny flavor of the clams and broth.
Rinse and scrub the clams well in cold water. Bring 3 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat in a a large stock pot. Cover and add clams and steam about 10 - 15 minutes until clams open. Check frequently and remove clams as soon as they open. Strain broth and set clams aside. You should get about 4 cups clam broth.
In heavy bottom stock pot, render fat from bacon or salt pork over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. When a few TBSPs renders out, raise heat to medium and brown slightly. Remove browned bacon pieces or salted pork cracklings and reserve for later. Add 1-2 TBSP butter if additional fat is needed.
Add the onion and saute about 5 minutes over medium heat until softened.
Add the butter. Once melted, add the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for about 3 to 5 minutes. The roux should simmer and puff slightly. If it becomes too dry and starts to stick to the pan at any point, add a little more butter.
While the potatoes are simmering, remove the clam meats from the shells. Leave about half of them whole and chop the rest into rough pieces.
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