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Spring Hill Ranch Clam Chowder

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Level: Easy

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Description

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!

Ingredients

  • 6 slices Thick-cut Bacon, 1/2" Chopped
  • 1  Large Yellow Or White Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 4  To 6 Medium Potatoes, 1/2-3/4" Chopped
  • 1-½ cup Clam Juice
  • 1 cup Water (as Needed)
  • ½ bunches Fresh Parsley, Chopped (or 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly Coarse-ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 3 cloves Medium Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse Salt
  • 1 can (24 Oz. Size) Stewed Tomatoes, Liquid Drained Into The Pot And The Tomatoes Diced
  • 2 whole New Mexico #6 Or Big Jim Chiles, Diced (or Substitute One 4-ounce Can Diced Green Chilies For The 2 Fresh Ones)
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Size) Whole Baby Clams, Juice Drained
  • 4 cans (6 1/2 Oz. Size) Minced Clams, Drained
  • 2 cups Half-and-half

Preparation

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.

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