This is, again, a quick simple recipe I came up with using a canned baby clams. I chop a strip of bacon into small pieces and slowly cook in a small sauce pan until crisp and the fat is rendered. An authentic recipe may call for salt pork or recommend blanching the bacon to remove the strong smoky taste but I like the smokiness that bacon imparts. I remove the bacon bits and set aside (to be used as garnish). I saute coarsely chopped onion (1 medium) for 4-5 minutes until soft and add potatoes (one large white potato cut into small cubes) and carrots (2 small cut into small rounds). I add the juice from a can of baby clams (10 oz) and chicken broth (No fat, low salt Swanson brand in a box) to just cover the vegetables. If you so prefer you could use the same amount of clam juice from a bottle. I then add two bay leaves, a very small pinch of dried thyme, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. I then add the baby clams and 1/2 cup of cream or milk (I used milk this time). When it comes back to a boil turn down the heat and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Small soup is nice to have as a course in a meal while you are having a drink but it is not easy to pair it with wines or other drinks. Dry sherry or some other aperitif may be called for. Umeshu 梅酒 or plum wine, as long as it is not too sweet. Or making a type of kir by adding umeshu to dry crisp white wines such as savignon blanc or even to sake may also work. We make Umeshu at home with much less sugar than commercial ones. Some bottles of our Umeshu have aged quite a long time since we started making it 20 some years ago and it is getting nicely mellow. We also made Umeshu using brandy which is also nice. (I may post our Umeshu some time in the future). All these could be a nice choice for the clam chowder (Boston style) that I made on one cold snowy day of which we have had way too many in Washington this winter. I, however, added Fino sherry in the bottom of the soup cup when I served this instead of having it as an aperitif.
I served the chowder in a cup with a small amount of Fino sherry in the bottom and top it with the bacon bits and chopped parsley. Coming in from shoveling snow, this is a good one to have.
The images below are taken the night of February 5 and morning of Feb 6 (after we rescued the pine tree and shoveled for several hours). I am originally from Sapporo but this is too much snow. If I wanted this kind of snow I could have stayed in Sapporo. As I am writing this, we are expecting another big snow storm with an expected snow accumulation of 8-16 inches or more. Where is spring!