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Manhatten Clam Chowder

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have a good recipe for MCC? For my tastes, New England style is good, but I've been "treated" to too many bowls that is so thick the spoon stands upright in the bowl or where the roux hasn't been cooked well enough and on and on.

Hope you can help.
post #2 of 9
My ol' friend, Overton Anderson, sent me this recipe back in the winter of '91. Overton's a good and creative cook. This recipe is based on one created by Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller, or it may be their actual recipe. Im not 100% sure on that. Maybe you'll like it. I recall having enjoyed it several times. Have fun,


Manhattan Clam Chowder

24 chowder clams
6 cups cold water
4 strips bacon
2 cups finely diced carrots
1 1/2 cups celery, cut in small cubes
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped sweet green pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
4 cups peeled potatoes cut in small cubes
1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1) Wash clams well in cold water; drain.

2) Put clams in a large saucepan. Add the 6 cups water and cover
tightly. Simmer until shells open, about 10 minutes. Drain well,
reserving liquid; let clams cool.

3) Chop bacon and put it in a soup kettle. Cook and stir until
bacon is rendered; then add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper,
garlic, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne and salt and black pepper. Cook
about 5 minutes, stirring often.

4) Add 10 cups of the clam liquid to the bacon mixture. (If you
don't have 10 cups, add enough water to make that quantity.) Remove
meatfrom clam shells. Discard shells. Chop clams coarsely. Add
clams to the pot along with the tomatoes and potatoes. Simmer for 1
hour. Stir in parsley and serve.

If I were making this today, I'd drain of excess bacon fat, use flat leaf
or Italian parsley, perhaps choose a pepper other than cayenne, or a
mix of cayenne and Hungarian paprika. I'd also be sure to use a good
Turkish bay leaf, not a Bay Laurel leaf.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Shel, I hope to make some later this week.
post #4 of 9
There's a local seafood place that's pretty good that has published a home version of their chowder. They cook a bunch of roux in the oven while they simmer the potatoes and vegies in the clam broth. Then it all gets mixed together and ends up about like cookie dough. Finally, the half and half is added back in with the clams and heated through. Yep, it's not the MCC, but you could easily substitute crushed tomatoes.

Makes a good chowder. Not thick enough to hold up a spoon, but pretty good. You could make more roux or add less half and half if that's what you're after. Note that this is a home version, not the restaurant version so they're using canned clams.

3/4 C melted butter
1 C flour

1 large or 2 medium potato, diced in a 1/2-3/4 inch dice
1 C celery, diced
1 large onion, diced fine
1/4 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
3/4 teaspoon whole thyme leaves
6 bay leaves
12 shots hot pepper sauce, depending on your desire for fire
3/4 C sherry
3 C clam juice

1 qt half and half
3 C clams, chopped

Melt the butter over medium heat in an oven proof container and stir in the flour until the lumps are gone. Put the container in the oven at 325 for about 30 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine remaining ingredients except half and half and clams. Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes of simmer time. Stir hot roux mixture into chowder and stir until thick. Mixture will be thick and dough-like.

Remove chowder from heat. Stir in clams and half and half until blended. If you want a soupier chowder, add more milk to your desired consistency.

Heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. DO NOT BBOIL. If you boil the chowder, the soup will be prone to separate and become watery as well as making the clams tough and rubbery.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #5 of 9
Must be something going around to affect New England clam chowder. Shel recently had some that was insipid. Now Bubbamom tells us all she gets is either too thick, or the roux hasn't been cooked properly.

In the past, New England clam chowder has been described as "white sauce with clams in it." And that, in my experience (used to live in Boston) isn't far off.

So, maybe the solution is to avoid New England style? While that may or may not be the answer, there are alternatives other than Manhatten. See, for example: http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21300

One thing you'll discover is that most of the Atlantic coast uses neither a roux nor dairy in its chowder. Something else you'll discover, if you try any of the "other" recipes, is that they also taste better than New England clam paste.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #6 of 9
Please let us know what you think of it. Thanks!

post #7 of 9
Tomatoes in Clam Chowder is like putting ketchup on a Chicago Hot Dog. :confused:

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #8 of 9
James Beard described Manhattan clam chowder as: ". . . that rather horrendous soup called Manhattan clam chowder. . . resembles a vegetable soup that accidentally had some clams dumped into it."

Not that I agree with his assessment ....
post #9 of 9

Manhattan Clam Chowder - Some History

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Some historians say that Manhattan clam chowder was originally called Coney Island Clam Chowder and/or Fulton Market Clam Chowder. Both of these names were used in the 1890s.

Both of the below cookbooks, written by Alessandro Filippini and Charles Ranhofer, who both worked at the famous Delmonice's Restaurant in New York at different times, were considered as most important cook books in modern cooking. Since nearly everything that Delmonic's Restaurant served was widely imitated, it is certain that several New York upscale restaurants probably sold a version of tomato-based clam chowder, today known as Manhattan Clam Chowder.

1889 - Alessandro Filippini was Delmonico chef du maison from 1849 to 1863. Alessandro Filippini helped Lorenzo Delmonico guide Delmonico's Restaurant to the height of culinary excellence. In 1889, Fillippini wrote his now famous cookbook called The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It, and How to Serve It, which was written for the non-professional home cook. This is his recipe - word for word for tomato-based clam chowder:

Wash six fine, medium sized potatoes, peel and cut them into small dice-shaped pieces, wash again in fresh water, take them up with a skimmer; place them in a stewpan large enough to hold three quarts. Immediately add two quarts of cold water (not placing the pan on the fire until so mentioned.) Peel one medium sized, sound onion, chop it up very fine, and place it on a plate. Take a quarter of a bunch of well-washed parsley greens (suppressing the stalks), place it with the onions; wash well two stalks of soup celery, chop it up very fine, place it with the parsley and onions, and add all these in the stewpan. Place the pan on a brisk fire. Season with a light pinch of salt, adding at the same time a light tablespoonful of good butter. Let all cook until the potatoes are nearly done; eighteen minutes will be sufficient. Cut from a piece of fresh pork, CROSSWISE, one slice a third of an inch thick, then cut it in pieces a third of an inch square, fry, and reduce it in a pan on the hot stove for four minutes. Add it to the broth, add also three-quarters of a teaspoonful of branch dry thyme. Lightly scald four medium-sized tomatoes, peel and cut them into small pieces and add them to the preparation. Open and place in a bowl twenty-four medium-sized, fine, clams; pour into another bowl half of their juice. Place the clams on a wooden board, cut each one into four equal pieces, and immediately plunge them into the pan with the rest; gently mix so as to prevent burning at the bottom while boiling, for two minutes. Range the pan on the corner of the stove to keep warm. Season with a saltspoonful black pepper, one tablespoonful of Worchestershire sauce, gently stir the whole with a wooden spoon; break in two pilot crackers in small pieces stir a little again. Leave two minutes longer in the same position, but under no circumstances allow to boil. Pour into a hot soup-tureen, and serve.

1894 - Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899), the celebrated French chef at the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York from 1862 to 1896. In his 1894 edition of his cookbook The Epicurean: A Complete Treatise of Analytical & Practical Studies, has a recipe for a tomato-based clam chowder called Clam Chowder (Chowder de Lucines):

Clam Chowder (Chowder de Lucines) - Prepare a quarter of a pound of well chopped fat pork, a small bunch of parsley chopped not too fine, four ounces of chopped onions, one and a half quarts of potatoes cut in seven-sixteenth of an inch squares; two quarts of clams retaining all the juice possible; one quart of tomatoes peeled, pressed and cut in half inch squares. Put the fat pork into a saucepan, and when fried, add the onions to fry for one minute, then the potatoes, the clams and the tomatoes; should there not be sufficient moistening, pour in a little water and boil the whole until the potatoes are well done. Add five pilot crackers broken up into very small bits; one soup spoonful of thyme leaves, two ounces of butter, a very little pepper and salt to taste. This quantity will make four gallons, sufficient for sixty persons.

20th Century
1939 - In February 1939, a bill was introduced by Assemblyman Seeder to the Maine legislature to make it a statutory and culinary offense to put tomatoes into chowder.

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