This is the quintessential clam chowder served at the Union Oyster House on
Union Street in Boston. The recipe comes out directly from the Union Oyster Cookbook.
¼ CUP DICED SALT PORK
2 TBS BUTTER
½ CUP DICED ONION
½ CUP DICED CELERY
2 TBS FLOUR
½ TSP DRIED THYME
2 CUPS PEELED AND DICED POTATOES
2 CUPS MINCED FRESH CLAMS –
Frozen but not canned
2 CUPS CANNED CLAM JUICE
SALT, PEPPER, HOT SAUCE – to taste
1 CUP HALF AND HALF
WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE – to taste
MAKES 2 ½ QUARTS
In a large pot over medium-low heat, render the salt pork until it is crispy – about 5 minutes.
Add the butter, and melt. Add onion, celery and cook until translucent – about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to form a paste and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the thyme, potatoes, and clam juice, and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Add the clams and bring quickly to a boil, stirring almost constantly.
Add the half and half and bring quickly to a boil. Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to taste, and serve immediately.
NOTE: At the Union Oyster House the chowder is always served with a little packet of oyster crackers. However, you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you turned down their Corn Bread the recipe of which dates back to the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Cornbread is believed to be one of the earliest American dishes.
It is likely that native Americans had been making it and/or similar
dishes long before the first settlers arrived. Cornbread in different regions
is also called Johnny Cake. However, the Union Oyster House
is righteously famous for its cornbread. And their recipe follows.
¾ CUP BUTTER – softened
2 CUPS SUGAR
2 TBS BAKING POWDER
2 TSPS SALT
½ CUP CORNMEAL
3 ¼ CUPS FLOUR
2 CUPS MILK
Preheat oven to 350º. Serves 6-8.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter sugar baking powder and salt.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add vegetable oil and cornmeal and mix for about 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl and beat about 15 seconds more.
Add flour and mix. Add milk and beat until smooth. Scrape sides and mix for a few seconds longer.
Grease and flour a 13 X 9-inch baking pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for30-35 minutes or until a toothpick* inserted in the center comes out clean.
NOTE: There is an interesting story about toothpicks connected to the Union Oyster House. It is believed that the toothpick was first introduced to the public at the Union Oyster House in the 1800s. Inventor Charles Foster, inspired by time spent in South America where he saw people cleaning their teeth with small slivers of wood, invented the toothpick using birch from Maine. To foster his business, he tried to get the Union Oyster House to offer them to dining guests. They refused so Foster engaged a group of money struggling Harvard students to go there for dinner and demand toothpicks after their meal. In return he paid for their dinner. The students complained loudly and from then on toothpicks were offered. Toothpicks caught on in other Boston establishments and later on through out many other parts of the country.