Manhattan Clam Chowder

Like most American chowders, Manhattan Clam Chowder traditionally contains tomatoes, potatoes, thyme and, in some recipes, salt pork. Serve the chowder as a light lunch or dinner, with crusty bread or rolls and butter. Steam the clams according to the basic information given under CLAM, and reserve

5 fluid ounces of the cooking liquid.

4 oz. salt pork, diced

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

3 medium-sized potatoes, diced

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme

5 fl. oz. tomato juice

1 pint water

5 fl. oz. clam cooking liquid

24 small clams, steamed, removed from their shells and finely chopped

In a large, heavy saucepan, fry the salt pork over moderate heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it has rendered most of its fat and is golden brown. Scrape the bottom of the pan frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent the pork from sticking.

With a slotted spoon, remove the pork from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the chopped tomatoes, potatoes, pepper, salt and thyme. Stir in the tomato juice, water and the clam cooking liquid.

Return the salt pork to the pan and bring the soup to the boil, stirring constantly.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Add the clams and cook, stirring, for a further 4 to 5 minutes, or until they are heated through. Taste the chowder and add a little more salt if necessary.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the soup into a warmed soup tureen or individual soup bowls and serve im-mediately.

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