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South County Quahaug Chowder

by in Jan 2001
South County Quahaug Chowder
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Yield: 6 servings

If you ask a native Rhode Islander to choose between a quahaug chowder that contains milk or cream and one that contains tomatoes, chances are he or she will demand a third choice. Throughout this small state at church suppers, Grange dinners, and wherever Rhode Islanders gather, good chowder means a clear broth. Here's a recipe developed by Diane and Bob Smith for the South Kingstown Lions Club summer festival. More than 600 gallons are typically served during the three-day event.

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  • 6 pounds quahaugs
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup finely diced salt pork
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


1. Scrub the quahaugs clean. Place them, shells and all, in a large kettle with the 6 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat until the shells open (about 5 minutes).

2. Lift the quahaugs out of the kettle with a slotted spoon. Discard any that have not opened. Remove the meat and grind it into small-size pieces. Discard the shells. Reserve all the liquid and set aside.

3. In a large pot, fry the salt pork until light brown. Add the onions and fry lightly. Add the reserved liquid plus enough water to make 8 cups, along with the potatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 5 minutes).

4. Add the chopped quahaugs and bring to a gentle boil for 2 or 3 minutes. (For non-purists or those who would dishonor South County Quahaug Chowder, a small amount of milk or half-and-half may be added.)

Updated Thursday, October 21st, 2010

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