Clam Chowder
2 lbs fresh clams in shell
1 tbsp oil
3 rashers bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 ¼ cups fish stock
2 cups milk
½ cup cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Sort through the clams and discard any which are already open (these are dead and should never be used). Put the remainder in a large heavy-based pan with 1 cup water and simmer, covered,  over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the shells open (discard any clams which do not open during cooking). Strain the liquid and reserve. Remove the clam meat from the shells, discarding the shells.

2. Heat the oil in the clean pan and then add the bacon, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and the bacon golden. Add the potato and stir to combine.

3. Measure the reserved clam liquid and add enough water to make it up to 1¼cups. Add this to the pan with the stock and milk. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender.

4. Uncover and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until reduced and slightly thickened. Add the cream, clam meat, salt and pepper to taste and parsley. Heat through gently before serving but do not allow to boil or the flavor will be impaired.

Variation: Fresh clams, which are often available at fish markets, give the best flavor but canned clams may be used. Instead of using the brine from the can, drain them before using and make up the liquid with fresh fish stock.

     Serves 4.