One of my favorite seafood soups is Manhattan Clam Chowder. I remember, as a younger girl, watching my grandmother, who would come over on Wednesdays, make this in our kitchen. Hers was always perfect. So, I rumaged through my memory bank, what’s left of it, and came up with this recipe. It’s quite good, I have to say. I added a couple of ingredients that she never used, and it worked out pretty well.
Now, if you want this meatless, omit the bacon. But if you want that smokey undertone, by all means, add it. I also used a couple of these extremely hot peppers my mother-in-law got on our trip to Italy in the fall. And these things are HOT. So I only added two. You can replace them with hot pepper flakes, if desired.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
serves 4 to 6
- 3 slices of bacon, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 3 to 4 potatoes, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes, optional
- 28-ounce can of whole plum tomatoes, chopped well
- 3 8-ounce jars of clam juice
- 2 cans minced clams
- 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. celery salt
- 1 tsp. thyme leaves
- Kosher salt
- freshly-ground black pepper
Heat a stock pot over medium heat. Dice the bacon and add to pot. Cook, until browned, about five minutes. If you’re omitting the bacon, use olive oil, about a tablespoon, instead.
To the pot, add the onion, celery, garlic and red pepper. Saute until softened, about three to five minutes. Season with salt and pepper while cooking.
Add the tomato paste, stir well, and cook for one minute more.
Carefully add the clam juice, canned, chopped tomatoes (I chopped mine in my food processor) and chopped potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper and add the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and celery salt.
Cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Add the minced clams with their juice and taste for seasoning. Cook for another five minutes.
Once it is done, remove the bay leaf and serve.