John F. Kennedy | Bay Scallop Chowder "Soup was a dish close to the heart of President Kennedy, since it gave him an opportunity to be served the fish for which his New England background had given him a special appreciation." Author Notes:My family celebrates Christmas eve by sitting down to a big dinner. Back when my siblings and I were in our 20s, these meals were long, epic affairs that last (…more) —Amanda Hesser
Bouquet garni made with 2 bay leaves, 5 fresh parsley sprigs, 3 fresh thyme sprigs and 8 black peppercorns, wrapped in cheesecloth
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large leeks, white and tender green, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops, membranes removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Melt the butter in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the clam broth, chicken stock and bouquet garni to the casserole and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to moderately high heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. (The recipe can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to a boil before proceeding.)
Add the diced potatoes to teh soup and cook over moderately high heat until just tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni.
In a medium bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the heavy cream with the cornstarch until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups cream, then whisk the mixture into the soup. Bring the soup to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the leeks and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. (The chowder can stand at room temperature for up to 3 hours. Rewarm before finishing.)
Stir the scallops into the chowder and cook over moderate heat just until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes; don't let the soup boil. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into a tureen or individual bowls. Garnish with the chopped chives and serve at once.