Manhattan Clam Chowder

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Manhattan Clam Chowder
Serves 6
In 1894 - Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899), the celebrated French chef at the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York from 1862 to 1896, in his 1894 edition of his own cookbook The Epicurean: A Complete Treatise of Analytical & Practical Studies, created this recipe for a simple tomato-based clam chowder called Clam Chowder (Chowder de Lucines) was included: Clam Chowder (Chowder de Lucines) - Prepare a quarter of a pound of well chopped fat pork, a small bunch of parsley chopped not too fine, four ounces of chopped onions, one and a half quarts of potatoes cut in seven-sixteenth of an inch squares; two quarts of clams retaining all the juice possible; one quart of tomatoes peeled, pressed and cut in half inch squares. Put the fat pork into a saucepan, and when fried, add the onions to fry for one minute, then the potatoes, the clams and the tomatoes; should there not be sufficient moistening, pour in a little water and boil the whole until the potatoes are well done. Add five pilot crackers broken up into very small bits; one soup spoonful of thyme leaves, two ounces of butter, a very little pepper and salt to taste. This quantity will make four gallons, sufficient for sixty persons. This version of Manhattan Clam Chowder is rather straight forward and stays close to its original roots.
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  1. 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  2. 1⁄4 lbs. Bacon, or Fat Back, diced
  3. 4 each Carrots, Medium Size, peeled and diced, about 2 cups
  4. 1 Large Sweet or Spanish Onion, peeled and diced, about 1 cup
  5. 4 each Celery Stalks, diced, about 1 cup
  6. 2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano,
  7. 1 Tbsp. Thyme Leaves, Fresh
  8. 2 each Bay Leaves
  9. 2 Tbsp. Garlic, Fresh, chopped
  10. 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  11. 2 cups Plum Tomatoes, drained and crushed
  12. 2 Quart Water
  13. 2 Large Russet or Idaho Potatoes (about 3/4 lb.), cleaned, peeled and diced
  14. 2 dozen Chowder Clams, steamed open, chopped, cleaned and their juices reserved
  15. - Salt & Pepper, to taste
  1. In a heavy bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil, add the bacon (or fat back) and cook until well rendered.
  2. Add the diced vegetables to the pot and sweat over low heat until wilted.
  3. Add the oregano, thyme, bay leaves, garlic and cayenne and stir to combine.
  4. Add the tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer another 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Stir in the chopped clams with their juices and continue to cook about 15 minutes longer.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve with oyster crackers.
Nino Salvaggio