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
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
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders, about 6 minutes; discard the fat. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and celery stalks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the potato, the tomatoes and their juice and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir in the clams with their liquid and cook to warm through. Stir in the chopped celery leaves and season with salt and pepper.
- Soups/Stews, Chowder
- North American
3 cups water
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
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add clams, cover, and cook until shells open, about 10 minutes. Transfer clams to a large bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Discard any clams that do not open. Remove meat from shells, and return to bowl. Discard shells. Pour reserved liquid through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth into a large bowl (you should have 2 1/2 cups). Sprinkle a few tablespoons liquid over clams to keep them moist.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Pour off excess drippings, leaving just enough to coat bottom of pot. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and reduce heat to medium. Add onion, celery, garlic, and red-pepper flakes, and cook, scraping bottom of pot, until vegetables are light gold, about 7 minutes.
- Raise heat to high, and stir in Marsala if desired. Add tomatoes, 1 cup reserved tomato juice, 2 1/2 cups reserved clam broth, and the potato. Reduce heat, and simmer until potato is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Cut large clams in half. Stir clams, pancetta, parsley, and oregano into broth, and heat until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 10.
- Soups/Stews, Chowder
- North American