‘Tis the season to whip up a little comfort food after a chilly day of fishing, and on Hatteras Island, the signature soup of choice is, naturally, Hatteras Style Clam Chowder.
Unlike Manhattan and New England varieties, Hatteras chowder is a clear broth with just a few low key ingredients, but the simplicity of the soup really brings out the clam flavor. Most every restaurant on the island has their own spin on the recipe, and chowder cook-offs for local bragging rights are essential at Outer Banks festivals and events, like the annual Day at the Docks celebration in Hatteras Village.
The following recipe will give you a good start, but don’t be afraid to customize your chowder, by experimenting with a few extra ingredients, like Old Bay, parsley, green onions, or even extra veggies like cooked celery and carrots.
Also, if you don’t have fresh shucked clams handy, canned clams and juice (about 2 cans) can be substituted in a pinch, though fresh clams are always the best bet – this is, after all, Hatteras style chowder, so using fresh seafood is all but required.
BASIC HATTERAS-STYLE CLAM CHOWDER
4 cups of shucked clams and juice (about 24 chowder clams)
3 cups of diced potatoes
2 cups diced onions
1 cup of water
6 pieces of bacon, fried and grease rendered
Chop clams and drain juice and save it. In a large pot, add waters, clam juice, potatoes, onions and grease. Bring to a boil until potatoes are tender crisp. Add chopped clams and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves about 6.