2 dozen chowder clams (quahogs) - you can use frozen clams, if necessary, one box should be enough
3 cups white wine
1/2 pound salt pork or fat back, diced fine (bacon can be used, if necessary)
4 Tablespoons butter (not margarine)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 bay leaf
pinch of thyme
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
your choice of crackers
Steam the clams in the wine until they just open. Remove and strain the liquid. Reserve. When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from the shell and chop them. Set aside.
In a large skillet, cook the salt pork until crisp. Drain and discard the fat.
In a large pot, melt the butter with the oil and add onions, celery, bay leaf, thyme, and crisped pork. Cook until vegetables are softened and translucent. Add reserved clam juice and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, milk, and cream. Cook until potatoes are just cooked, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add chopped clams and bring the chowder to a slow boil, stirring occasionally.
Serve with crackers.
Yield: 4-8 servings.