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Manhattan-Style Clam Chowder

1/4 lb. diced bacon 
1 lg. onion, diced 
2 carrots, thinly sliced 
3 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced 
1 tbsp. fresh parsley (or dried) 
1 lg. can tomatoes, broken up, with juice 
1 1/2 tsp. salt 
Black pepper 
1 bay leaf 
1 tsp. dried thyme 
3 medium potatoes, diced 
2 or 3 cans (6 to 7oz each) minced clams with juice 
1 bottle (8oz) clam juice 
1 tablespoon flour blended with 1 tablespoon melted butter or a little of the bacon grease (optional) 

Fry diced bacon until crispy; drain and transfer to 3 1/2-quart or larger crockpot. Add remaining ingredients to the crockpot; Stir to blend. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. If a thicker soup is desired, add flour butter mixture during the last 30 minutes. 
Serves 4.