4 ounces slab (unsliced) bacon, rind removed and cut into 1/3-inch dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
1 large onion (10 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 stalks celery (4 ounces), cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 medium green bell pepper (6 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium carrots (4 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
5 cups Clam Broth (recipe follows)
Diced clams (reserved from Clam Broth recipe)
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a 4- to 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, and add the bacon. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase the heat to medium, and cook until the bacon is crisp and golden brown. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, leaving the bacon in the pot.
2. Add the olive oil and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, carrots, bay leaves, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Add the potatoes and clam broth. The broth should just barely cover the potatoes; if it doesn‘t, add enough water to cover. Increase the heat, bring to a boil, cover, and cook the potatoes vigorously until they are soft on the outside but still firm in the center, about 10 minutes. If the broth hasn‘t thickened lightly, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more to release the starch.
4. Add the tomatoes, and simmer 5 minutes more. Remove pot from the heat, stir in the diced clams and parsley, and season with black pepper. If you are not serving the chowder within the hour, let it cool a bit, then refrigerate; cover the chowder after it has chilled completely. Otherwise, let it sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour, allowing the flavor to meld.
5. When ready to serve, reheat the chowder over low heat; don‘t let it boil. Ladle into cups or bowls, making sure the clams, vegetables, and bacon are evenly divided
Makes 13 cups