Cook book

Manhattan Clam Chowder – Give him the praise he deserves!

I went to college in Boston, MA, so I’m familiar with New England clam chowder. When I went out for dinner, which wasn’t often, I always ordered it. In fact, I was looking forward to clam chowder. Without a doubt, this buttery, creamy and sticky rib soup is delicious, especially on winter evenings.

My love of New England chowder hasn’t changed my love of Manhattan chowder. I’m originally from Long Island, New York, and our family used to go swimming at Jones Beach on the south shore of the island. We stayed for the evening water show and clam chowder. As an elementary school student at the time, I loved chowder and the little packets of round crackers that came with it.

Sometimes my mom would make 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 little scared looking at it. But chef and writer James Beard hated Manhattan chowder, according to 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 The wet site says some food historians believe 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 have found many tomato chowder recipes in my cookbooks.

A recipe in “The Healthy Cook,” published by “Prevention Magazine,” features clam juice, reduced-sodium canned tomatoes, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. The original recipe from the book “Joy of Cooking” contains bacon, canned tomatoes, ketchup and butter. Other Manhattan chowder recipes contain green pepper. 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 veggies. Read my recipe and you will see that it contains more vegetables than clams. There is virtually no grease because the bacon grease has been cooked through. Canned clams and juice contain salt, so I omitted it from the recipe. Stir up a batch of Manhattan Clam Chowder today and give it the accolades it deserves!


2 cans (14.5 ounces) whole unsalted tomatoes and juice

4 cans (6.5 oz) chopped clams and juice

1 bottle clam juice 8 ounces

2 1/2 cups of water

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1 cup small sweet 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 bits

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper


Pour the canned tomatoes into the soup pot. Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces with kitchen shears. Chop the celery and onions and add them to the soup pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and simmer for an hour. Or simmer in a slow cooker, over low heat, for four hours. This Manhattan clam chowder is even better the next day. Makes 12 one-cup servings.

Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson

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