If you are a lover of classic American chowders, like Boston clam chowder, you will love this rich sumptuous Manhattan style.
Manhattan has always been the teeming melting pot of America, and this is one of those dishes that sorta pushes the refresh button. Give it a whirl… it’s both an umami bomb, rich, super tasty and garden fresh. Enjoy!
1 1/2 pounds clam meat
24 oz clam broth
1 large sweet onion, chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
1 28 oz can of tomatoes and juices (we use San Marzano tomatoes from Italy)
2 fresh Pascilla peppers or bell peppers, chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
4 medium Yukon style potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1 whole head of garlic, oven-roasted
1/2 pound smoked bacon, chopped
1 dozen littleneck clams
6 to 8 bay leaves
2 cups celery stalks, with leaves, chopped, (we use mostly inside stalks)
1 leek, cut into 1/4 inch thick “coins”
1 small fennel, sliced thin, (we also use the fronds at the very end)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces butter
2 teaspoons dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest or half a lemon, squeezed
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 teaspoon dried chili peppers or cayenne
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Oven roast the garlic, allow to cool and squish out the patina garlic.
Pan fry the bacon until almost crispy, allow to cool and then chop into pieces.
Heat the olive oil and the butter in a 14 inch pan and when the butter just begins to brown, sauté on high heat the onions, leek, bay leaves, fennel, celery, Pascilla or bell peppers and potatoes for about 10 minutes until softened and glossy.
Pour in the clam broth and simmer on medium until the potatoes are nearly done, about 6 minutes.
At the same time, steam the whole clams until they have opened… about 10 minutes.
Place all these ingredients (except the whole clams) into a large stock pot and add the garlic, clam meat, the hand crushed tomatoes, bacon, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon juice or zest, parsley, red chili or cayenne and thyme. Simmer until slightly thickened and married, about 5 minutes, and then remove from heat.
Place 2 or 3 of the steamed clams on top of each bowl served, along with the fennel fronds.
It’s that simple. If you use high quality ingredients, this feast is always a crowd pleaser.
Enjoy with toasted crusty bread… and hot sauce if you like it spicy!