I love seafood! Cooked or raw, I love it all, so I was pissed when I developed an allergy to one of my favorites, scallops! Lobster, crab, & clams are my first choices if available, so, thankfully, that was the only shellfish that I’m affected by or it would definitely be #HoustonWeHaveAProblem!
Because I actually like to taste the clams, and don’t want to have to dig through a murky sea of potatoes in search of a few scattered slivers, there are few places, outside of Ivar’s in Seattle & Atlantic Fish Company in Boston, where I choose the cream based New England Clam Chowder that most people are familiar with. If given the choice, I much prefer the spicier, tomato, broth based, Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Because few places on the west coast offer a decent version of the chowder I prefer, I found a couple of recipes that I was able to pull parts from to create one that’s both satisfying and can be made with minimal effort.
Manhattan Inspired Clam Chowder
- 48 little neck clams
- 2 – 8 oz bottles clam juice
- Quarter pound bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 7 cloves garlic, chopped
- Pinch dried, crushed red pepper
- 2 celery stalks, quartered & chopped
- 2 carrots, quartered & chopped
- 2 large white potatoes, cut into half-inch cubes
- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 Cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is fine)
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
- 2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Wash the clams well under cold running water in colander.
- Place clams in a large pot, and add enough water to cover clams by 2 inches.
- Cover the pan and place over high heat.
- When the water comes to a boil, give the pan a good shake.
- Turn the heat to low, and cook clams another 30 seconds or so.
- Remove from the heat, and take out all the clams that have opened, using a slotted spoon. If any clams remain closed, put back on the heat, with the lid on the pan, and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove remaining clams, reserve, discard any clams that have not opened.
- Pour the clam juice through a fine strainer and measure. If you have more than 4 cups, simmer to reduce to 4 cups.
- Put the bacon into a large, heavy saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the bacon begins to brown. Pour off excess fat, leaving behind the bacon and about 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan.
- Add the onion, celery, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up all of the brown bits
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more.
- Tie the parsley sprigs, fresh thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot.
- Add the reserved clam cooking liquid, the bottled clam juice, the potatoes, and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- While chowder is coming to a boil, remove clams from their shells and chop coarsely. Add to chowder and reduce heat to low.
- Cook over low heat for another 5 minutes; check to make sure potatoes are soft and chowder is well seasoned.
- Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Divide among warm soup bowls and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.
For a fancy touch you can leave a few clams in the shell and float a couple in the bowl. Serve with crusty sourdough bread and butter and a salad for a hearty meal. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
You have a few wine options with this chowder:
- (White) Partially-Oaked Dry California Chardonnay pairs nicely with the crushed red pepper, potatoes, thyme and onion in this dish
- (White) Unoaked Medium-dry German Riesling is a nice compliment to the tomatoes, onions, peppers and potatoes in this dish
- (Red) Oaked Italian Barbaresco pairs beautifully with the peppers, potatoes, onions and celery in this dish
Westerly Wines 2014 Bentrock Chardonnay – Rated a 93 by Wine Enthusiast: Available at The Original Wine Club
Dr. Heidemanns Bernkastel Auslese 2016 Riesling – Rated a 93 by Wine Enthusiast: Available at Totalwine.com for $19.99.
Rivata Barbaresco – Intense, cherry spiced, medium bodied, and available at Totalwine.com for $21.99. #GirlsGoneWine