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Traditional Soup Recipe: Manhattan Clam Chowder

Recently on 12 Tomatoes we shared a fantasticNew England clam chowder recipe. When you’re in the mood for a creamy soup, nothing hits the spot like that recipe. But sometimes we prefer something a little lighter: that’s where Manhattan clam chowder comes in.

The primary difference between New England and Manhattan clam chowder is the base. While New England’s base is made of cream, Manhattan chowder uses tomato. In that way, it might be more accurate to call it a clam stew, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it any less. Keep reading below for our favorite Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe…

Traditional Soup Recipe: Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder

(makes 13 cups)


  • 7lbs medium-size hard-shell clams (topneck or small cherrystone) washed and scrubbed clean. (In a pinch, use 4 cans minced clams and 2 bottles of clam juice)
  • 2 slices bacon cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1lb low starch potato (with a waxy skin. Red Pontiac, for example) cut into 2″ chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tabasco or other hot sauce to taste


  1. Bring clams and 3 cups of water to a boil in a large, covered soup kettle. Steam the clams until they just open (3 to 5 minutes). Transfer the clams to a large bowl and cool slightly.Remove the clams from the shells by opening the clams with a paring knife while holding over a bowl to catch the juices.
  2. Next, sever the muscle from under the clam and remove it from the shell. Reserve the meat in a bowl while discarding the shells. Mince the clams and set aside.
  3. Pour the clam broth through a fine mesh sieve into a 2-quart measuring cup, holing back the last few tablespoons to prevent sediment from entering the measuring cup. Set the clam broth aside (you should end up with about 5 cups).
  4. Frythe bacon in a large pot over medium-low heat until the fat renders and the bacon crisps. Remove the bacon and set aside, leaving the fat behind. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the carrots, celery, and onion. Saute until onions turn soft and translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Return the bacon to the pot.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the herbs, tomato, clam broth, and the potatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes.
  6. When the potatoes are tender, add the clams, cover the pot, and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Add the tobasco, salt, and pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted fromMartha Stewart

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