4 ounces fatback or Pancetta 2 large onions, diced 2 carrots, diced 2 ribs celery, diced salt and pepper, to taste 3 tablespoons flour 12 chowder clams (quahogs) 1 bottle clam juice 4 large potatoes diced Tabasco sauce, to taste 1 quart water
In a large pot render a small piece fat back or Pancetta and remove the meat when rendered. You'll need sufficient fat to saute the veggies, if not enough, add vegetable oil. Add the onions, celery, and carrots, and saute in the fat. Add salt and pepper and the flour. Blend the flour in thoroughly and turn the heat down to low so that as the flour cooks, it will not turn brown.
Remove about a dozen quahogs from their shells. Do this over a bowl to catch the clam juice. Strain the juice through cheesecloth to not only eliminate any shell particles but to remove any sand that may have been in the clam. Add the clam juice to the pot when the onions are translucent. Depending on the amount of juice you have, you may want to add either water or a bottle of clam juice or both.
Bring the liquid to a boil and turn down immediately to a simmer. Finely dice the quahogs and reserve. Add the potatoes to the pot. Taste it at this time and adjust the seasoning. When you're happy with that, add a dash or 5 (depending on the amount of zip you prefer) of tabasco sauce. When the potatoes are fork tender, add the clams and simmer for another 3 or 4 minutes. Serve immediately.