Even though Abby Slutsky owns a bakery business, she likes to find a balance between nutritional foods, interesting side dishes, and sweets.
I usually do not have clam juice sitting in my pantry, so I modified this Manhattan clam chowder recipe to use what I had on hand. It is a rich soup that is easy to make and perfect for a cold winter day or a light summer lunch with a salad. It also makes a delicious, nutritious snack when I am trying to eat healthy. I am known to make soup almost every week because it is my 3:00 p.m. go-to snack.
This recipe keeps well in the refrigerator for two days. I have also stored it in a container in the freezer for up to a month. Be sure to label and date the contents if you decide to freeze this soup.
A Little History
Despite its name, Manhattan clam chowder was actually created in the New England state of Rhode Island by Portuguese people who traditionally used tomatoes in stews. The soup became popular in New York, and a restaurant called Delmonico’s helped make it well known. New Englanders began to refer to it as “Manhattan clam chowder,” and the name stuck.
Not surprisingly, even though the New England version contains a milk or cream base and the Manhattan style uses a tomato base, the soups are constantly compared throughout the years. It seems that everyone has his or her own favorite. Since the Manhattan version is less fattening and full of vegetables, I prefer to make this style.
These tips will help you make a pot of outstanding Manhattan clam chowder.
- Use whole tomatoes. I prefer San Marzano, but the appearance, flavor, and texture varies in brands. The New York Times rated canned tomatoes if you want to get their opinion. Try for a brand that lists very few ingredients on their product and does not have added sugar of any type.
- I wear disposable gloves when I crush tomatoes. I individually take the tomatoes out of the can and crush them right over the pot.
- I usually use packets of chicken broth mixed with water. They are more economical than cans, take less room on my pantry shelves, and I am unable to taste a difference in flavor. You can use the low-sodium or regular packets. Of course, if you want to use the canned broth that works fine too.
- Use fresh garlic from a clove instead of the fresh, jarred garlic. I think the flavor is better than the jarred garlic.
- This soup thickens when it is refrigerated, so you may need to add a little water when you heat it the next day.
- Chopping the potatoes on the smaller side will help them get done quicker.
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- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups chicken
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Iarge Idaho potato, peeled in small to medium cubes
- 16 ounces canned clams, with liquid
- 2 large packages frozen vegetables
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Melt the butter and oil in a large soup pot over low heat.
- Add carrots, celery, and onion. Stir until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
- Add the garlic and 6-ounces of the tomato paste. Stir until the tomato paste sticks to the vegetables uniformly. The tomato paste will help give the soup a hearty thickness.
- Pour the chicken broth into the mixture, and add the diced potatoes. Continue cooking at low-medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Crush the tomatoes over the pot and add them to the soup. If the tomato residue is thick, add it to the pot too. Discard a thin tomato liquid. Add seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, and clams with liquid.
- Pour the frozen vegetables into the soup. Cook an additional 20-25 until the potatoes are tender.
Many people like to top this soup with oyster crackers, or serve them on the side. If these crackers are hard to find in your area, this soup is also delicious with crusty bread. Try it as a first course, or pair it with a sandwich for a filling lunch.
© 2020 Abby Slutsky