Drain off the clam liquid and reserve. Chop the clams finely and set aside. Cook the bacon in a heavy soup kettle until almost crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onions and green pepper to the hot bacon fat and saute until the onions are pale gold. Add the tomatoes and their juice, potatoes, carrots, celery, and 1 ½ qts of water. Season with salt (cautiously, since clams can be salty) and pepper to taste, add the thyme and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams and their juice, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes longer. Correct the seasonings, add the reserved bacon, and serve.
Your Manhattan Clam Chowder is ready. Happy cooking!
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