Saturday, September 28, 2013

Manhattan Clam Chowder

This recipe, developed at the Culinary Institute of America, caused me to change my mind about Manhattan clam chowder. I had, for years, scoffed at those who would order it as a soup of preference. I considered it to be nothing more than a vegetable soup into which a bunch of clams had been thrown. I needed to use the last of the canned clams with which I had been working and this recipe read well. I could find no reason not to make it, so I was off to the vegetable bin and chopping block and within an hour had a table ready meal. I was really surprised by how much I like this chowder. That just goes to show it doesn't pay to be a food snob. It would have been a shame not to have tried this. It will never replace its New England cousin but it is good enough to make into my rotation and it adds a bit of food lore to my collection as well. Did you know that legislators in Maine once tried to ban the use of tomatoes in chowder? While I suspect it must have been a slow legislative year, they swear its true. Come to think of it, I've never had Manhattan chowder in New England. Huh! While the CIA recipe, of course, used fresh clams, my exercise for these past few weeks has been to find ways to use the variety that comes in restaurant-sized cans. Two 51-ounce cans can be purchased at warehouse stores for around $12. That's enough clams to make four or five meals for an averaged sized family and that's a bargain by any standards. Here's the recipe.

Manhattan Clam Chowder...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of the CIA


2 slices bacon, minced

2-1/2 cups diced leeks (white and light green parts)

1-1/4 cups diced onion

1/3 cup diced carrot

1/3 cup diced celery

1 cup diced red bell pepper (seeds and ribs removed)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 canned plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 cups diced yellow or white potatoes (peeled)

3 cups bottled clam juice

1 cup tomato juice

1 bay leaf

Pinch dried thyme

3/4 cup canned clam meat + juice from cans (about 3/4 cup) or 3 dozen chowder clams, shucked, juices reserved

Salt as needed

Freshly ground black pepper as needed

Tabasco sauce as needed


1) Cook bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until crisp and browned, about 10 minutes.

2) Add leeks, onion, carrot, celery, pepper, and garlic. Cover pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

3) Add tomatoes, potatoes, clam juice, tomato juice, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add clams with their juices and simmer until the clams are cooked, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

4) Using a shallow, flat spoon, remove any fat from surface of chowder and discard. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Serve in heated bowls. Yield: 8 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Beggar's Chowder - One Perfect Bite

East Hampton Clam Chowda - Family Spice

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder - Creatively Domestic

Oyster Stew - Seriously Soupy

Hearty Cheddar Chowder - The Daily Dish

Potato Chowder - Sweet Basil Kitchen

Fish Chowder - A Thought for Food

New England Clam Chowder - One Perfect Bite

Fresh Corn Chowder - Barbara Bakes

Salmon Chowder - One Perfect Bite

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