For me, there's no doubt that pancetta is superior to bacon in these kinds of dishes. Whole clams in the shell add a beautiful liquid to the dish and are much more fun to eat. But what if you don't have pancetta and a few pounds of steamers on hand? What if you sometimes feel lazy, just like me? Is there a viable alternative? I think yes. In fact, I know it. Lazy people, take up your spoons and march right back into that kitchen and taste the victory!
2 strips bacon, chopped into cubes
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Oregano Indio
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 6 1/2 oz can chopped clams
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
In a large pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until the bacon is cooked and the fat is rendered. Strain the excess bacon fat out, leaving about 2 tablespoons of fat. Add the onion, garlic and oregano and continue cooking until the onions are soft.
Add the white wine (or stock) and stir.
Add the clams and their liquid. Stir.
Lower the heat to medium low and add the beans, gently mixing everything together. Cook for about 5 minutes. Check for salt (remembering that the bacon itself is salty) and pepper. Add the parsley and serve immediately.
Notes: You could easily replace the Oregano Indio with thyme. I've tried this with chopped clams and whole clams and the chopped were much better. It must be a science thing.
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