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Clam Chowder

2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans minced clams (with juices) If you can get fresh clams, use them.
2 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups 1% milk (if you're not watching the fat use whole milk or even cream)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups evaporated skim milk (again, if you're not watching the fat use regular evaporated milk)
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
Crushed pink peppercorns (optional)
Snipped fresh thyme (optional)

Drain the clams, reserving the juices. If necessary, add enough water to the clam juice to make 1 cup. In a medium saucepan, combine the juice mixture, potatoes, onions, bouillon granules, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Using the back of a fork, slightly mash the potatoes against the side of the saucepan. In a small bowl, stir together the 1% milk and cornstarch. Add the cornstarch mixture, evaporated skim milk and liquid smoke to the potato mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in the clams. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Garnish with the peppercorns and thyme.

Serve with hot sourdough break. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

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