The Union Oyster House in Boston, Massachusetts is purportedly America’s oldest restaurant. Whether truth or an exaggeration (hey, you can’t believe everything you read on a paper napkin), it is certainly a famous Boston landmark.
To this day you can still sit at the horseshoe shaped bar – where it is rumored that Daniel Webster ate and drank more than his fair share of oysters and bourbon – and dine on some of the best oysters and clam chowder around. Of course, bourbon is still available too!
No, that’s not the actual bar. It’s just a little display they have by the hostess stand. By the way, I apologize that this photo and the last are less than stellar. I took them with my cell phone. I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t need my Nikon in the restaurant!
So, where was I? Oh, yes…amazing chowder! Luckily there’s a Union Oyster House cookbook available in the gift shop. I decided to pick it up to see if the chowder recipe really did justice to the thick, creamy version served in the restaurant. The verdict? It’s not quite the same, unsurprisingly, but it’s still pretty darn good! It’s actually one of the easier chowder recipes I’ve tried, though, which is a big plus. I’ll definitely be making this one again!
- 1/4 cup salt pork, diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cups canned clam juice
- 2 cups fresh or frozen clams, chopped
- 1 cup half and half
- Salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, to taste
- 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 and celery, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to form a paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 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. Serve immediately.