At the request of my buddy Guy Bower (I love being on his radio show at KNSS AM Wichita), here is a great Manhattan Clam Chowder. It is one of my favorite lunch dishes, but really, it is hearty enough for supper, too. I use clam juice and a container of refrigerated clams here for a very easy meal. Just be sure to cook the potatoes separately, as the acids in the tomatoes keep the potatoes from softening properly.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
Makes 8 servings
Manhattan clam chowder differs from its New England namesake in that it has a tomato base instead of cream. A healthy soup chunky with vegetables and a tomato-y tang suitable for dieters, it’s also a very democratic soup. You might find it listed both as the “soup du jour” on the menu blackboard at the neighborhood bar and grill, and as a specialty of the house at tony seafood palaces. Homemade is best.
• 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 medium celery ribs with leaves, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1/2 cup (1/2-inch) seeded and diced green bell pepper
• 3 cups bottled clam juice
• 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, juices reserved, chopped (see Note)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 (1-pound) container shucked clams with juice
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and partially cover the saucepan. Simmer until the potatoes are barely tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.
3. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and green pepper to the fat in the saucepan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the clam juice, tomatoes with their juice, thyme, and bay leaf and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover the saucepan. Simmer to blend the flavors, about 25 minutes.
4. Stir in the clams and their juices with the bacon and potatoes. Cook just to heat the clams and potatoes, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Ladle into bowls and serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.
Note: Here’s a low-tech way to chop tomatoes. Pour the contents of the can into a deep bowl. Reach into the bowl and crush the tomatoes through your impeccably clean fingers until the tomatoes are broken into pieces about the size of a quarter or smaller. That’s it.
If you like this recipe, check out: