Manhattan Clam Chowder

6 lbs. quahog clams, chowder clams or cherrystone clams
3 cups water
6 bacon slices
1 large onion, chopped
¾ cup finely diced carrot
¾ cup finely diced celery
1.2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, miced
2 thyme sprigs or ½ tsp dried leaf thyme
1 bay leaf
about 3 cups bottled clam juice, fish stock or water
1 to 2 tblspn tomato paste
1 (16-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained, coarsely chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut in ½ to ¾ inch pieces
Salt and black papper
Finely chopped parsley

Scrub clams with a brush to remove sand from shells; discard clams that do no close. Place in a large kettle with water. Cover and cook until clams open, 7 to 10 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Use a slotted spoon to place cooked clams in a large bowl. Holding over kettle to catch juices, remove clam meat from open shells; discard shells. Coarsely shop clams set aside. Strain liquid through several layers of cheesecloth; set aside. Rinse and dry kettle. In same kettle, cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel crumble cooked bacon. Reserve 1 to 2 tblspns bacon fat in kettle over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, green pepper add garlic; sauté until onion is soft and transparent. Add thyme and bay leaf. Measure clam liquid; add bottled clam juice, fish stock or water to make 6 cups. Add onion mixture. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes with juice. Add chopped clams and potatoes. Cover kettle; gently simmer 1 hour. Season with salt and black pepper. Ladle chowder into a tureen or server in individual bowls. Garnish with crumbled bacon and parsley. Makes 8 (1 ½ cup) servings.

New England Clam Chowder

3 or 4 bacon slices, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1.2 cup finely diced celery
2 tblspn all-purpose flour
2 (6 ½ oz.) cans chopped or minced clams, un drained
2 (8 oz) bottles clam juice
3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut in ½ inch cubes
1 bay leaf
2 ½ cups half and half
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped parsley

In a large kettle, fry bacon until crisp; Reserve 1 to 2 tblspn bacon fat I kettle. Add onion and celery; sauté until onion is soft and transparent. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Drain juice from clams into kettle; reserve clams. Stir in bottled clam juice. Add cooked bacon, potatoes and bay leaf. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add half and half and reserve clams. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until heated through. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve from kettle or spoon a tureen. Garnish with paprika and parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.