Monday, January 30, 2012

Manhattan Clam Chowder ~ My Way!

I have been down with some kind of weird laryngitis, a malady I have not suffered for over 20 years! Of course I am craving warm, easy and soothing food, mostly soups. So, last night, my dear husband ran out for some canned Progresso soup, chicken and wild rice to be exact, and I sat back while he fixed me a nice tray, of hot soup and crackers. Sounds lovely, right? I mean, considering I am feeling puny and I have my man fussing over me? Well, Progresso, even though they stopped putting MSG and so much salt in their OFF my list for good! Yuck! Eating this soup was like eating paste. I had to dump a bunch of Maggi in it just to make it palatable. So, today...I can't talk, but I can cook!

I have been making this clam chowder since I was a new bride. It is probably not traditional, and it will not win a chowder "cook-off" because, hey, I live in the desert, but it is darn good comfort food. Great for laryngitis and illnesses real and imagined!

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Recipe by, Victoria Copeland
Makes 5, 1-cup servings

4 slices bacon, fried crispy and crumbled
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup fresh celery, diced
1 cup fresh carrots, diced
3-4 large Idaho potatoes, diced
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 dried bay leaf
2 (or 3 if you are clam happy) cans (7 to 8 oz each) minced clams (I like Snow's)
1 8 oz. bottle clam juice ( I use Yankee Clippper brand)
2 14.5 oz. cans "no-salt" diced tomatoes  ( I prefer Trader Joe's organic)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a 6 qt. saucepan, cook bacon until crispy, remove and set aside to drain and cool
In the bacon drippings of the same pan (no apologies!), sauté onions until they are soft, about 3 minutes, add diced celery and carrots, sauté another 5 - 8 minutes until slightly browned and soft, add diced potatoes thyme and bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste, and sauté another 5 minutes.
Open the canned clams, pour off the juice only and the bottled clam juice together into a large measuring cup, add enough warm water to top off the juice, you will want a total of 4 cups liquid.
Add the liquid to the sautéd vegetable mixture. Start to bring up the heat.
Add the diced tomatoes with their juice.
Bring to a boil, simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender. 
Add clams, cover, and cook only until clams are heated through.
Serve sprinkled with the crumbled bacon and your favorite crackers or crusty bread. I like to serve this soup with crackers, cheese and apple slices on the side.

                                                              Sauté onions, celery and carrots in drippings

Add potatoes and seasonings, continue to sauté

                                 Add clam juice, water to make 4 cups of liquid, add diced tomatoes w/juices

Now this is soup to get well by! Enjoy!

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