Conch Chowder

bullet1 ham bone with little meat on it, or ¼ - ½ lb. bacon cut into cubes
bullet2 quarts water
bullet8-10 conchs, diced or ground in food chopper
bullet2 onions, chopped
bullet1 green pepper, diced
bullet1 can tomatoes
bullet6 large potatoes, diced
bullet1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
bulletsalt & pepper to taste
bullet2-4 bay leaves
bullet2-4 T. thyme
bullet2 T. butter or margarine
bullet2-4 carrots, sliced
bulletCayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste.

NOTE:  Where conch is not available you can substitute lobster. 

Place ham or bacon in cooking pot & add water. Cover & bring to boil, turn down heat to simmer. Add conch & simmer for about 2 hrs. or until conch is tender. Fry onion, green pepper & celery and sauté until light brown stirring to prevent burning. Add tomatoes & tomato paste; simmer for a minute or so. Add this mixture to pot with conch. Add remaining ingredients & simmer until vegetables are done.
Note: this freezes well.

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