So the other weekend, R and I took the train from Manhattan out to New England to visit my Nana, aunts, uncles and cousins. And on the first day, my aunt J served this Manhattan Clam Chowder...in New England. Of course, the difference between a Manhattan Clam Chowder and a New England Clam Chowder has nothing to do with where they're served. The Manhattan version is served in a broth with tomatoes, while the New England version is a cream-based soup. I've always preferred the Manhattan type (as I tend to do in most matters), but this version was seriously great. Seriously. As R sopped the last drop from his bowl with a piece of bread, he looked up and said 'You must get this recipe.' That does not happen very often.
So of course I complied. My family is always amenable to giving out recipes, they're generous like that. In fact, you might remember those homemade twix bars from a while back. Well my aunt-to-be included them in an Easter basket that she put together for R and I last year, and told them they were my Aunt J's recipe (same aunt you can thank for this chowder). Of course, I had given the recipe to J in the first place! And I love that about my family, always recipes away and passing food around. None of this 'secret family recipe' business for us.
So anyway, this is some good stuff. I like the idea of reproducing recipes the way they were given to me. My mom has her style, Aunt J has hers, and I like to keep them intact. Neither one of them writes out a list of ingredients at the top, so I'll bold them in the body of the recipe for easy shopping list making.
Aunt J's Manhattan Clam Chowder
Brown 1/4 lb chopped bacon in a 5 quart saucepan over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. In the drippings, saute 1/2 small onion, chopped, and 2 small ribs of celery, also chopped, along with 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme for 4 minutes.Add 2 x 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes with jalapeno peppers, two 8 oz bottles of clam juice, 2-3 medium potatoes chopped to bite-size pieces with the skin on, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in 2 x 10g cans of whole baby clams (you can chop some of them) with their juice and a 7 ounce can of corn kernels, drained, as well as the reserved bacon. Heat it through, and serve