A reader asked me to share the recipe for the traditional Ocracoke clam chowder I made for the fundraiser this past weekend (see yesterday's post about the fundraiser).
I started with a recipe from the green Ocracoke Cook Book, published by the Women's Society of Christian Service of the United Methodist Church. This is Mrs. Beulah Boyette's "Wahab Village Hotel Clam Chowder":
1 quart chopped clams
1 quart water
4 medium onions
1 pint sliced potatoes
Drippings from 6 strips of bacon (not salt pork)
Put all ingredients in pot and cook slowly for at least four hours. Add water as needed. This chowder should be thick when finished.
Well, I didn't exactly stick to the recipe. I needed to make a much larger batch, so I started with a bunch of clams (from Pamlico Sound...not canned!), but I didn't count them. I also chopped up my clams in a blender, so they were basically pulverized. Other people cut their clams with scissors, so then there are larger chunks of clam in the chowder. I had about 6 quarts of finely chopped clams and their juice.
I used about three quarts of water, about 7 or 8 pounds of peeled and cubed potatoes (I didn't count how many), and 5 or 6 large onions (chopped). I also used two packages of thick cut bacon (many O'cockers use salt pork, but I like bacon better) which I fried up. I broke the bacon into pieces and included all of the drippings (that bacon grease might have been the winning ingredient!).
I lit the burner at 7:30 and carried the chowder out to the Community Center at 10:30. I didn't add any water. I never cooked such a large batch before, but my chowder is never thick.
I didn't add any salt or pepper, either. I used the basic island recipe, then just did what seemed appropriate. I must have done something right since the chowder won first prize. Actually all traditional Ocracoke Island clam chowders are pretty similar...simply delicious!
Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.