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New Mexico is not known to be a seafood depot—we often must be satisfied with packaged seafood. That’s especially true in our more rural regions. So those purists that must use nothing but the freshest seafood straight from the fish monger need not read further. However, those who will open a bottle of clam juice or a can of baby clams will be rewarded with a warm, creamy, spicy and delicious chowdah!
In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the bacon until the bits are crisp. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain on a paper towel. Do not drain the grease from the pan yet.
In the bacon drippings, sauté the onion until it is wilted and translucent. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan to drain on a paper towel too. Now you may drain the fat from the pan, wash it and put it away.
Meanwhile, put the potatoes and clam juice in a 5 quart pot. Add enough water to just cover them. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue at a low boil until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. At this point if you’ve used more than 4 potatoes, you can remove some now and blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor. Then return the reserved potato pieces. This will give you some nice chunks along with the pureed soup.
Add the reserved bacon bits and onion, the parsley, thyme, basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, stewed tomatoes and green chilies. Return the soup to a boil and add the clams and half-and-half. Simmer just until the clams are warmed through.
The chowder will become thicker and richer if it is allowed to cool down and then reheated just before serving.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!