I have had a number of people ask me for a recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder. So, I did a sort of take on my New England Clam Chowder. You don’t even know how hard it was not to add heavy whipping cream.
This chowder is so full of flavor and is rather easy to make. I suggest getting your mise en place in place prior to cooking. Is that redundant? So, cut your veggies, soak your clams and open up all of the other ingredients and let’s get cooking! In the Charlotte area? Head on over to The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. and grab a few dozen little neck clams. I will also link the ingredients. They are some of my favorites and “go to’s” for my recipes!
I like a lot of clams in my chowder. I use both fresh and canned. If you wish, you can definitely use all fresh and just remove from shell once they open. I use littleneck because I do not have to chop them. You can also use big, chowder clams, just be sure to chop after they open up!
Heat up a heavy bottom pot to medium. I use an enameled cast iron pot like this one. Place bacon pieces in pot and start to render. While bacon is rendering, soak the littleneck clams in a bowl with water and about two tablespoons of flour. The clams will ingest the flour and spit it out along with any dirt/grit. Let them soak for about five minutes. Rinse and set back in fridge.
When bacon is almost fully-cooked, add in the celery, carrots, and onion. Stir and allow to soften about five minutes. Mix in the garlic and cook another minute or so, stirring occasionally. Pour in the white wine and scrape up any bits on the bottom. Allow the alcohol to cook off…about four to five minutes.
Add in the chopped tomatoes, bottle of clam juice, and the juice from the canned clams. Mix well.
Stir in about three cups of the chicken broth. Toss in the bay leaves, the thyme leaves and thyme bundle (I just wrap a few sprigs of thyme in a thyme stem). Season with kosher salt, pepper and a few dashes of red pepper flakes.
Allow to simmer on medium-high for about ten minutes. Add in the potatoes and bring to a simmer/low boil. It will take about ten to fifteen additional minutes for the potatoes to soften. Taste about halfway through to see if you need to add additional salt. The potatoes need salt!
You may notice that with the addition of the potatoes, you may need to add the last cup of chicken broth. I used all four cups. Do that now so that it can heat up before you steam the clams. Add in the fresh clams. Place lid on pot and allow to steam open. This will take about five minutes or so. For any clams that refuse to open, remove from pot and discard. Stir in the chopped clams and fresh chopped parsley.
Turn off the heat and allow the canned clams to warm in the chowder for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaves…I always count the number of bay leaves I put in and be sure to take the same out…you do not want someone biting into one of these guys! Remove the thyme bundle.
Serve the Manhattan Clam Chowder in big bowls. Garnish each bowl with more fresh chopped parsley. Serve with fresh bread and/or oyster crackers. For a dash of heat, add a few drops of Tabasco! ENJOY!