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I'm continuing with last month's theme of soup by offering a quick recipe for Manhattan clam chowder. While I'm also a fan of the creamier New England clam chowder, I keep that on reserve for special occasions like New Year's Day. This tomato-based chowder is one that I can make and enjoy regularly. It's a simple recipe and you can tweak many of the ingredients to suit your tastes and what's available in your refrigerator and pantry. If you don't have leaks available, skip them. If you prefer carrots in your soup, add them with the rest of the sautéed vegetables. If you have vegetable stock available instead of chicken, that's fine. If you have fish stock on hand, that's even better (I've placed chicken stock in the recipe since it's more widely available and often right on your pantry shelves.) What you include in your chowder is really up to you.
What I will recommend is serving this zesty soup with warm bread sticks. If you want to make them special, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over them before warming them. If you add a nice green salad and a glass of white wine, you'll feel like winter is something worth celebrating!
As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!
2 cups clam juice -- from drained clams and/or bottled clam juice
1/4 cup butter
1 leek -- cleaned and thinly sliced into rounds
2 celery ribs -- minced
1/2 green bell pepper -- minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 medium red potatoes -- washed and diced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Drain the clams and measure the reserved liquid. If necessary, add bottled clam juice to the liquid to total 2 cups. Place the clam juice in a small saucepan and heat just to boiling. Meanwhile, in a stock pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat, add the leek, celery and pepper and sauté, stirring, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the boiling clam juice and chicken stock and heat to simmering. Add the potatoes and tomatoes into the soup pot. Stir in the thyme leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes.
In a food processor, blend 2/3 cup of the clams to a puree (if you need more liquid, spoon a little of the hot broth into the processor bowl with the clams). When you're ready to serve, reduce the soup to barely simmering and vigorously stir in the pureed clams. Add the rest of the whole baby clams and adjust the seasonings right before serving.