I went to college in Boston, Massachusetts so I am familiar with New England clam chowder. When I went out for dinner, which wasn’t often, I always ordered it. In fact, I looked forward to clam chowder. No doubt about it, this buttery, creamy, stick-to-your ribs soup is delicious, especially on a winter night.
My love of New England chowder did not change my love of Manhattan chowder. I am originally from Long Island, New York, and our family used to go to Jones Beach, on the South shore of the island, to swim. We stayed for the evening water show and clam chowder. An elementary school student at the time, I loved the chowder and the little packets of round crackers that came with it.
Sometimes my mother made Manhattan clam chowder from scratch and it was delicious. Dad opened the clam shells and removed the meat with a small, stubby knife. I remember being a bit scared as I watched him. But chef and writer James Beard hated Manhattan chowder, according to http://www.whatscookingamerica.net. He described it as vegetable soup with clams dumped in it. With all due respect to James Beard, I love Manhattan chowder because of the vegetables and clams.
The http://www.whatscookingamerica.net Wet site says some food historians think Manhattan chowder was also known as Coney Island chowder and Fulton Market chowder, after the famous Fulton Fish market in New York City. Manhattan clam chowder was also called Connecticut chowder. I found many recipes for the tomato-based chowder in my cook books.
A recipe in “The Healthy Cook,” published by “Prevention Magazine,” contains clam juice, reduced sodium canned tomatoes, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. The original “Joy of Cooking” book recipe contains bacon, canned tomatoes, ketchup, and butter. Other Manhattan chowder recipes have green pepper in them. I didn’t want green pepper, ketchup, hot sauce, or garlic in my chowder.
What did I want? I wanted lots of clam flavor and lots of vegetables. Read my recipe and you will see it has more vegetables than clams. There is hardly any fat because the bacon fat has been cooked off. Canned clams and juice contain salt so I have omitted it from the recipe. Stir up a batch of Manhattan clam chowder today and give it the praise it deserves!
2 14.5-ounce cans of whole, no salt tomatoes and juice
4 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams and juice
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 cup sweet baby carrots (from a package)
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
3 tablespoons pre-cooked real bacon pieces
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
Pour canned tomatoes into soup kettle. Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces with kitchen shears. Chop the celery and onions and add to soup kettle. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for one hour. Or simmer in a slow cooker, on low, for four hours. This Manhattan clam chowder tastes even better the next day. Makes 12 one-cup servings.
Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson