Manhattan Clam Chowder
Many fans of clam chowder have a rather strong opinion on which variety of chowder is better, New England or Manhattan. We think it's like comparing apples and oranges though – one is creamy and rich, the other tangy and hearty. Both are delicious, so if you're a clam lover, it just depends on what you're in the mood for.
- 6 dozen littleneck clams
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup clam juice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes,undrained
- 4 red bliss potatoes, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Hot sauce to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Oyster crackers
- Rinse the clams under cool water to remove any sand or dirt and place them in the bottom of a large pot with a lid.
- Add the water, clam juice, wine and bay leaves, cover tightly and bring to a simmer.
- Cook until all of the clams have opened, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer the clams and all of their liquid to a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
- Add the bacon to the pan and cook over medium heat until it renders its fat and begins to crisp. Add the onion and carrot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the celery and continue cooking the mixture until the onions begin to caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
- Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes and red and green bell pepper. Season with a few grinds of black pepper and hot sauce to taste (we used about 1 teaspoon). Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Strain the broth from the clams through a fine strainer or piece of cheesecloth to remove any sand (and the bay leaves), then stir the broth into the soup.
- Cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, remove the clams from their shells, set aside and discard the shells.
- Add the clams to the soup and cook for 1 minute to heat through. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with parsley and a handful of oyster crackers.