This year The Hubs and I jointly made a resolution and that was to take better care of ourselves. For us that meant making a big lifestyle decision. On Jan 1 we adopted a pescatarian diet. That means that we abstain from eating all meat – beef, chicken and pork. We are not vegetarians since we eat fish, eggs and dairy as well as fruits, vegetables, plants, legumes, nuts and grains. I guess it’s comparable to a what some people call a Mediterranean Diet.
As I write this, I haven’t had meat in 14 days and surprised at how easy the transition has been. I’ll be honest, I did have a craving about seven days ago at work to eat in a big juicy cheeseburger at lunch but instead opted for a cup of vegetarian soup and a spinach salad tossed with hard-boiled eggs. Yay for me! I’m proud of myself for not giving in to my craving. I haven’t missed meat since.
So with our new pescatarian lifestyle, I’ve been experimenting with a number of fish recipes/dishes. This week I tried my hand at Manhattan Clam Chowder and I have to say it was a tremendous success!
My recipe is inspired by a fish chowder one I found in my cookbook bible, “How To Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. I was surprised that when I was researching clam chowder recipes that lots of them used bacon or more accurately rendered bacon fat to saute the veggies in. Obviously that was out for me, so instead I substituted more aromatic veggies and decided to use some clamato (tomato juice flavored with spices and clam broth) to give my stock a more flavorful base to work from.
It’s important to cut all the veggies to the same chopped size, so they all cook evenly. While I used canned clams for my version, you could of course use fresh clams, but you’ll need to shuck them.
Easy Manhattan Clam Chowder
Prep Time: 15 minutes to chop veggies, 30 minutes to cook
3 cloves sliced garlic
1 cup chopped green onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped orange or red pepper
2 cups waxy or all-purpose potatoes
2 cups clam juice (augmented with the liquid from either canned or fresh shucked clams)
28 oz can peeled whole or chopped San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup clamato juice
24 littleneck or other hard-shelled clams, shucked or 1 1/2 cups chopped canned clams
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
Put the olive oil in a dutch oven or deep pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, peppers, potatoes, thyme, salt & pepper and sautee for about 10 minutes.
Add the clam juice, tomatoes and clamato juice and cook until the potatoes are tender – anywhere from another 10-15 minutes.
Add the clams and bring to barely a simmer, making sure the soup does not come to a boil.
Let is simmer for another five minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Now, I happened to have these all natural popover bowls from East Riding Farm and thought they would be perfect to serve my chowder in. I took them out of the freezer, put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 5 minutes and the bowl was flaky, tasty and really stood up holding the chowder! FYI, these popover bowls are also great for stew, chili and even pot roast (if I was eating meat!)
So here’s the final product. This was a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat and low cholesterol meal. We stored the leftovers in a Tupperware and heated it up the next day and I have to say, it tasted even better the second day since all the ingredients had time to really settle and come together.
Next week I’ll be sharing my recipe for another meatless meal, a Quick and Easy Vegetable Quiche.
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite type of soup to make?
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