Though it's not nearly as famous, there is a non-New-England kind of clam chowder out there. Instead of the heavy cream or milk, this one is laced with tomatoes and a healthy abundance of other vegetables.
It makes for a lighter chowder, but still a comforting one, especially during frightful weather. This Manhattan clam chowder recipe from Martha Stewart hits all the right notes. There is the porky base, the chunky vegetables, and of course the all-important clams.
That said, I did make a few changes to the original. Instead of steaming my own clams, I went for frozen diced clams and clam broth. Obviously, if you really want to go all out, you could shell out (ha) the cash for two dozen clams and steam them all. It's totally doable and not terribly hard, just time-consuming. It would make this more of a weekend meal, instead of an under-an-hour quick fix. It's your call. Luckily, both options are delicious.
- 4 ounces bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, diced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, diced
- 5 cups Clam liquid or clam broth
- 16 ounces diced clams, (usually frozen), thawed
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
Add bacon to large dutch oven set over low heat. When bacon starts to render some fat, turn heat to medium and cook until crisp, about five minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels. Remove all but one tablespoon of fat from dutch oven.
Pour olive oil into dutch oven. Add garlic, and cook until very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, carrots, bay leaves, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring often with wooden spoon, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add potatoes, clam broth, and enough extra water (if needed) to just cover potatoes. Turn heat to medium-high, and bring to boil. Partially cover dutch oven and cook until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Smash some cubed potatoes with wooden spoon, to help thicken the broth.
Chop canned tomatoes. Add them to dutch oven, along with remaining tomato juice. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Turn off heat, add diced clams and parsley. Stir well, and let sit for five minutes covered. Serve with some crumbed bacon on top.