3-4 strips bacon (the more, the merrier), finely diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled, ¼-inch dice
2 stalks celery, including leaves, diced
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, ¼-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
3 bay leaves
1 lb Russet/starchy potato, peeled, ½-inch dice
1 can (5.5 oz./156 mL) tomato paste
1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes with juice
1 qt. fish stock or clam juice
2 (10 oz.) cans baby clams in juice (or equivalent amount of chopped fresh clams)
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
In a heavy 6-8-quart soup pot, over medium heat, sauté bacon until most the fat has been rendered, and it is golden brown and almost (but not quite) crisp.
Add oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté 1-2 minutes until the garlic is soft but not brown. Add the onions, leeks, celery, carrots and green peppers and herbs. Sauté until vegetables are soft, 10-15 minutes.
Move the vegetables to the edge of the pot; in the center, add tomato paste. Stir the paste 1-2 minutes to caramelize. Add the potatoes, tomatoes and stock. Mix well. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, ~20-30 minutes.
Add the clams with their juice. Season to taste. Bring back to a simmer for another few minutes. Serve and enjoy! Makes ~4 quarts, 8-10 servings.
From the kitchen of Lynne Greenblatt
Source: The Albert County Museum cookbook, Fiddleheads, Fricot & Frittata: A Hodgepodge of Atlantic Canadian Recipes