Summer or Winter, I'll never say no to a piping-hot tureen of New England clam chowder. But lately, I've been trying to reduce my calorie intake by steering myself toward lighter, broth-based soups, like lentil vegetable soup. It's time, I've decided, to try my hand at making Manhattan clam chowder, a totally different yet irrefutably delicious take on shellfish stew.
While I love white chowder for its luscious, velvety texture, my palate flips for the tart, slightly spicy tang of the tomato-based red version. On a weeknight, I'll bust out the shortcut version, which calls for canned, pre-cooked clams. But on my next Friday night in, I'll scrub fresh clams for a slow-simmered soup made from scratch. Which rendition suits you best? Find out when you read more.
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick serves 6. 3 cups water Serves 8 to 10.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leafy greens, stalks and leaves finely chopped separately
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped
One 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
One 14.5-ounce can chicken broth
Two 10-ounce cans baby clams or chopped clams packed in water, liquid reserved
Salt and pepper
2 dozen cherrystone or littleneck clams, scrubbed (2 cups clam meat)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine (optional)
1 can (28 ounces) whole plum tomatoes, strained, juices reserved, tomatoes finely chopped
1 potato, preferably Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
3 cups water
Serves 8 to 10.