YIELD: 4 to 6 servings | PREP TIME: 20 minutes, plus time to cure | STOVETOP: 40 minutes
• 3 pounds cherrystone, quahog, or littleneck clams, well rinsed
• ½ pound slab bacon or salt pork, cut into small dice
• 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
• 2 medium carrots, cut into small dice
• 2 celery ribs, cut into small dice
• 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, cut into small dice
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes or 2 pounds fresh tomatoes
• 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into small dice
• ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
• Salt and ground black pepper
1. In a large pot, bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open. Transfer the clams to a rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth to catch any sediment. Reserve the broth.
2. Once the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop them into small pieces. Set aside.
3. Rinse out the pot and return it to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until some of the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
4. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, bay leaves, and tomato paste. Cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes, potato, and clam broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the chunks of potato are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the clams and parsley and remove the pot from the heat. Set aside at room temperature for up to an hour to allow the flavors to develop. Taste the broth and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Reheat before serving.
Lower-Carb Modification: Use celery root instead of a potato.