Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder - hearty and full of flavor!

For being a relatively picky eater when I was a kid, I was surprisingly not turned off by fish. In fact, New England clam chowder was one of my favorite soups, right behind cream of mushroom. I’m certainly not going to claim that I had some sort of advanced palate (far from it); if you put any sort of creamy soup in front of me, I would drink it right up. My grandma always had cans of both New England and Manhattan clam chowder in her pantry. If I was offered Manhattan clam chowder, I would run for the hills, screaming my picky little head off. Fish wasn’t an issue, but oh boy, do not try to serve me soup with chunks of tomato in it. Sure, I loved tomato soup, but it was smooth. I didn’t want chunks of tomato. Feeding kids is awesome, huh? I’m pretty sure karma is going to eat me alive.

A couple of weeks ago, my Chief Culinary Consultant mentioned that I hadn’t made soup in awhile, so I asked him for some ideas, and one of them was Manhattan clam chowder. Every part of me wanted to scream, “Nooooo! No chunky tomatoes in soup!”… but, I acted like a grown-up and happily made the pot of soup, thinking that perhaps my aversion could have corrected itself in the last 25 years. Turns out, it had, because I was totally stunned when I took my first spoonful. It was amazing, and so flavorful! In fact, now I think I might actually like this better than the New England version. Crazy!

Manhattan Clam Chowder - hearty and full of flavor!

I’ve found that for most soups to develop a real depth of flavor, they require quite a bit of cooking time. Not so in this case. I was surprised that this could be prepped, cooked, and ready to eat in just over an hour. Most of that time was spent chopping up the vegetables, so if you did that ahead of time and stored them in the fridge, you could have this on the table in well under an hour, which makes it a fantastic weeknight meal option.

Manhattan Clam Chowder - hearty and full of flavor!

Not only am I thrilled that I found a new recipe for a fantastic pot of soup, but I feel like a bonafide adult for not picking out the chunks of tomato.

Score!

Manhattan Clam Chowder - hearty and full of flavor!

One year ago: Peanut Butter-Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Two years ago: Fig Cookie Bars and Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes
Three years ago: Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream
Six years ago: Chewy Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Yield: About 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

The red, brothy cousin of New England clam chowder often gets
a bad rap, but this version is hearty and full of flavor.

Ingredients:

4 ounces thick-cut bacon (about 3 slices), cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced small
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced small
1 medium carrot, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup dry white wine
3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
5 (6½-ounce) cans chopped clams, juice drained and reserved
1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 bay leaf
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Directions:

1. In a large pot or 7¼-quart Dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat renders and the bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, carrot and celery, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and sauté for 1 minute.

2. Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Boil the wine until it reduces by half, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the 3 bottles of clam juice, the reserved canned clam juices, the potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot, then simmer for 5 more minutes.

4. Add the diced tomatoes (along with their juice), bring back to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, stir in the canned clams and season with salt and pepper to taste; discard the bay leaf. (Chowder can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot.) Stir in parsley and serve immediately.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

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39 Responses to “Manhattan Clam Chowder”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on January 23, 2014 at 1:36 am

    I would love a big bowl of this! Perfect for this time of year!

    Reply

  2. Alyssa @ My Sequined Life on January 23, 2014 at 2:06 am

    A hearty bowl of soup that’s done in little over an hour? That so works for me!

    Reply

  3. Tammy on January 23, 2014 at 4:25 am

    I think I will be making this today! Sounds so tasty for this cold winter,even in sunny Florida!

    Reply

  4. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on January 23, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Funny, my Husband doesn’t like clams and is not a fan of clam chowder, but Manhattan Clam Chowder is his favorite soup next to chicken noodle. I think I am going to surprise him and make your soup. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  5. Melissa on January 23, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Whenever possible, I use petite diced tomatoes in my soups. I’m also averse to chunky tomatoes, so I highly recommend making this swap! :)

    Reply

  6. Susan McElwain on January 23, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I have a child who has the same aversion to chunks of tomatoes. Do you think crushed tomatoes would work in this? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 23rd, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Susan, I think if you used crushed tomatoes you would end up with too much of a tomato sauce consistency to your soup. I would recommend draining the juice into the pot, and then dumping the diced tomatoes onto a cutting board and mincing them up so they’re tiny.

      Reply

  7. Marci on January 23, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Would water or broth work instead of wine?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 23rd, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Marci, Yes! I would recommend chicken (or seafood) broth.

      Reply

  8. Terri on January 23, 2014 at 9:29 am

    That was so me as a kid too! I loved NE Clam Chowder and would never go near a chunk of tomato. I am going to make a pot of this soup this weekend. And yes karma will find you!! My sister was a super picket eater as a child and now she has a son who is the same.

    Reply

  9. Becca @ Crumbs on January 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Afraid I have never got on with clams or fish of any kind! I can handle chunks though so I’m not toooo fussy right?!

    Reply

  10. Margaret on January 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

    THIS chowder looks amazing. I have never made it or the New England but they are both on my list! Thanks.

    Reply

  11. Angie W. on January 23, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Besides Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, Manhattan-style Clam Chowder is my favorite soup! This looks like a fantastic recipe, thanks for taking the plunge. :-)

    Reply

  12. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet on January 23, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I am all about comforting soups this time of year. This looks fantastic!!

    Reply

  13. Pam C. on January 23, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I also like to have corn in my chowders. In fact, I have sometimes used some frozen mixed vegetables in addition to the potatoes and onions. I don’t use bell peppers, but that is just my taste. Great recipe, with lots of clams!

    Reply

  14. Laura @ Laura's Baking Talent on January 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

    This soup looks amazing! Perfect for a cold day.

    Reply

  15. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on January 23, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I love clam chowder in all its different varieties! Thanks for sharing this!!

    Reply

  16. Michele on January 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Just thinking about canned clams and wondering if there were brands that were better than others.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 23rd, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Michele, At my grocery store, there was only one brand (I think it was Bumblebee?), so that’s what I bought.

      Reply

  17. shobelyn on January 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    This looks very delicious.Where can we get a clam juice?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 23rd, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Shobelyn, I got it at the regular grocery store – it was on the same shelf as the canned tuna, the canned clams, etc.

      Reply

  18. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on January 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I have been on the hunt for a Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe – this looks perfect!

    Reply

  19. Robin Christensen on January 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Ooo – YUM-MEEE! I am definitely going to try this! I’ve never even heard of Manhattan Clam Chowder – call me a hillbilly if you must (I’m from Arkansas)!

    Reply

  20. Tricia @ Saving room for dessert on January 23, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Quick and tasty and beautiful! Yum – nice suggestion :)

    Reply

  21. Lindsey on January 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Manhattan clam chowder: the ONLY clam chowder for me (I’m seriously running for the hills if I have to eat the creamy seafood stuff). ;) Ever since I was a kid I’ve only liked this kind, and boy, this looks delish! Maybe it has something to do with clamming in Long Island as a kid, who knows?

    Reply

  22. Cass @foodmyfriend on January 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    What an awesome looking chowder. I have never had chowder and I probably never will (vege). I doubt it would be the same without the seafood hehe.

    Reply

  23. kathy on January 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Can I buy real clams? I have the best fish store just down the hill. What do I do about using or adjusting the bottled and reserve clam juice?
    I can’t wait to try this.
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 24th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Hi Kathy, Yes, you can make this using real clams. There is a version using real clams on Cook’s Illustrated; it calls for 8 pounds medium-sized hard-shell clams, such as cherrystones, washed and scrubbed clean. You would follow this procedure:

      Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the clams and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 5 minutes, uncover, and stir with a wooden spoon. Quickly cover the pot and steam until the clams just open, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the clams to a large bowl; cool slightly. Open the clams with a paring knife, holding the clams over a bowl to catch any juices. With the knife, sever the muscle that attaches the clambelly to the shell and transfer the meat to the cutting board. Discard the shells. Cut the clams into 1/2-inch dice; set aside. Pour the clam broth into a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup, holding back the last few tablespoons of broth in case of sediment; set the clam broth aside. (you should have 5 cups; if not, add water to make this amount.

      You would add it in the same place as the recipe above, and instead of using 3 bottles of clam juice, you would use only 1. Hope that helps!

      Reply

  24. Stephanie on January 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    As soon as I find clam juice I will cook this!
    It looks delicious!

    Reply

  25. Linda Jean on January 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Made your chowder for dinner last night ~ YUM! As you said, lot of chopping, but so easy to put together. Looking forward to left overs. Thinking I’ll freeze some of the extra, too.

    Reply

  26. wendyb on January 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Just a note to say how much I love your recipes. Every one I’ve tried has been great. Out here in California we rarely see any clam chowder except the creamy kind. I truly love French bouillabaisse (?sp?) so I will try this with scallops, shrimp, and a pinch of saffron. Might even try to locate a fish stock instead of all clam as I can’t deal with the house smelling of fish exoskeletons and bones. Thank you for all your lovely posts. The weekly and yearly wrap-up is so useful, too.

    Reply

  27. Gry on January 26, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Looks delicious! And you can be really proud for trying something new!

    Reply

  28. Caroline Hurley on January 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Ooooh…as soon as I saw this I knew it was going on my “to make” list! It’s been forever since I’ve had clam chowder. Not sure why, because I love it! Wonderful photos! Pinning now!

    Reply

    • Jenny on November 28th, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      I made this for dinner tonight. Instead of clam juice, I used the broth of a seafood boil I had yesterday. I kept everything else to the recipe.

      Everyone has had two bowls full and most are groaning contentedly on the couch.
      I will definitely be making this fantastic chowder many more times.
      Thank you!

      Reply

  29. Nila @ The Tough Cookie on January 29, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    This looks so delicious! Now let’s hope I can get my hands on some clam juice ;)

    Reply

  30. joan on January 31, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    just made the manhattan clam chowder and it was excellent.
    my husband loved it! thanks

    Reply

  31. Poame on February 5, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Perfect for the winter!

    Reply

  32. Sonia on April 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I made this today! It was wonderful. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply

  33. Wingkiester on September 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe. I just tried this over the weekend and all guests like it.

    Reply

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