There was a time I much preferred Boston over Manhattan, at least in the chowder department because you all know how much I love cream in almost anything but that all changed with last night's chowder.
Feeling a little creative but having promised my alter ego a pot of clam chowder for dinner, I admit I emptied out the veggie bin a bit with this one but only after I got the meat out of the way. Bacon, rendered of its fat was joined in the Dutch oven by a single link of hot Italian sausage and that my friends is where the fun began.
Sauteed chopped onion, celery, green pepper, carrots, a tiny itsy bitsy serrano pepper and a little time made up the basics of this pot of stoup. Seasoned with a few red pepper flakes, some dried Italian herbs and a little basil, diced potatoes joined the party along with white wine, clam juice, skinned fresh tomatoes, a can of Rotel and some tomato sauce, although the sauce could be optional. I just wanted a little more body in the soup.
After the potatoes were cooked, I added 2 cups of chopped clams, turned off the heat, slapped on the cover and let the pot sit for 5 minutes. The result - a spicy, rich, subtly clam flavored chowder with all the nuances of Manhattan and a lot more attitude. Just wish I knew what to call it!
It’s Not Manhattan Clam Chowder (an original from JBug’s Kitchen)
4 slices bacon, cut into half inch pieces
1 link hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 small Serrano pepper, minced
1/2 cup diced carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
Coarse ground black pepper
2 cups diced peeled potatoes (I used Russet)
3 fresh tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
8 ounce bottle clam juice
1 cup white wine
8 ounce can tomato sauce (optional)
2 cups chopped clams (I used frozen Gaper clams)
Kosher salt if necessary
Parsley for garnish
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add bacon and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is just beginning to brown. Crumble in Italian sausage and cook until no longer pink. Remove bacon and sausage from pot using a slotted spoon. Set aside. Increase heat to medium high; add onion, celery, green pepper, Serrano, diced carrots and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, until vegetables have softened – about 10 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, basil and season liberally with coarse ground black pepper. Cook for additional minute, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes, Rotel, clam juice, and white wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are cooked but still slightly firm. Stir in tomato sauce. Bring pot back to a high simmer and add clams. Remove pot from heat, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary. Serve garnished with chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 6.
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