New England Clam Chowder
5 pounds littleneck or cherrystone clams (48 to 60 clams), well scrubbed
2 cups dry white wine or water
About 3 cups bottled clam juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces
2 yellow onions, chopped
6 to 8 small red potatoes, unpeeled, cubed
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives
1. In a large, wide, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine clams and wine. Cover and cook until clams open, about 5 minutes.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer clams to a bowl, discarding any that did not open. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve lined with damp cheesecloth placed over a large bowl. Remove clams from shells; chop coarsely, capturing and straining any of the juices. Measure the cooking liquid, and add enough clam juice to measure 5 cups.
3. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add bacon and onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
4. Raise heat to high. Add reserved liquid, and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, then reduce heat to low; cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are almost completely cooked but still slightly firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Add clams; simmer until heated through,
6. Ladle the chowder into warmed bowls, garnish with parsley and serve.
-- Chuck Williams and Kristine Kidd, "Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home" (Weldon Owen, 2010)