After the holidays it was hard to get my motivation back in the kitchen. All the holiday baking I did was a success–but I needed a break. Hence, my lack of blogging lately. Instead, I did a lot of eating out. Pho, Vietnamese noodle soup, sushi and ramen, Thai pad kee mao, my favorites. One thing I ate during my kitchen sabbatical that particularly caught my attention was a red clam chowder.
It was at the cafe in my office building. I had ordered a cup of chili with no cheese–and out it came seductively smothered in a bunch of cheese. This originally would cause me to start smiling and clapping, but my dairy intolerance leaves me no choice but to turn it away. I saw someone else with a red brothy soup that looked dairy free and asked for that instead–holding back tears as the server took my cheesy chili away.
I’ve never tried a clam chowder like this before, known as Manhattan Clam Chowder. It was delicious! I forgot all about that cheesy chili after one bite. Better yet, it’s dairy free, and a lot healthier than a creamy clam chowder filled with fat.
So, now that I’m refreshed from my leave-of-absence and ready to be back in the kitchen, I decided to make it at home.
It’s incredibly easy to make, so give it a try!
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
about 2/3 cup chopped carrots
about 1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 pieces of bacon
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 to 2 cans of chopped clams with juice (I used only one can but recommend two)
4 small potatoes (or 2 large ones)
a sprig of fresh thyme (dried should work fine too, 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. garlic powder
a dash or two of cayenne pepper
2 T chopped parsley
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Cut bacon into small pieces. Fry over medium heat in a large pot until it starts to brown and crisp. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add onions and saute until they begin to soften. Add carrots, bell pepper and celery and garlic. Saute for another minute or two.
Add broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, clams and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until potatoes begin to soften. Season with thyme, garlic powder and cayenne and simmer on low. Total cooking time should be about 30 minutes to an hour for flavors to come out. Add chopped parsley and stir in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a crusty whole wheat roll.