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Quick Manhattan Clam Chowder

May 23, 2010

By Kath Dedon


Of course, the very best Manhattan clam chowder will be made with fresh clams. But you can make a very good version with canned clams. I turned to Cook’s Illustrated The Best Recipe Soups and Stews for their “Quick Pantry Manhattan Clam Chowder”.

The original recipe serves 8 people; I pared it down to serve 4.

I wanted about 16 ounces of canned clams, so I thought I’d get 1 (10-ounce) can of baby clams and 1 (6.5-ounce) can of chopped clams. When I discovered my store no longer carries the 10-ounce cans, I got 3 (6.5-ounce) cans of chopped clams. So there were a lot of clams in the chowder! It was quite good, if I do say so myself.



Quick Manhattan Clam Chowder

(Adapted from a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated The Best Recipe Soups and Stews)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4


2 slices of bacon

¾ cup chopped onion

½ red pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces

1 small, or ½ large, carrot, chopped small

½ stalk celery, chopped small

4 medium cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ cup dry white wine (or substitute water)

2 (8-ounce) bottles of clam juice

¾ pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces

1 large bay leaf

1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes

3 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, drained, with juice reserved


1. Cook the bacon in a large pot over low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is done.

2. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Add the onions, red pepper, carrot and celery. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. This takes about 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for about 1 minute.


4. Add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes.

5. Add the bottles of clam juice, the potatoes, the bay leaf, and the reserved juice from the clams. Cover and cook over medium-low until the potatoes are done, about 10 minutes.

6. Using the back of a spoon, smash some of the potatoes against the side of them pot. Stir and cook about a minute more.

7. Crumble the reserved bacon into the pot. Add the tomatoes with their juice, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

8. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the clams and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2010 4:32 pm

    Great recipe for a wonderful chowder!! it looks oh so tasty!

  2. May 24, 2010 4:46 am

    Thanks, Dennis! It’s definitely a good reason to keep canned clams and clam juice on hand in the pantry. 😉

  3. August 24, 2011 11:19 pm

    Now this is absolutely delicious!

    • August 25, 2011 6:53 am

      Thank you! 🙂

    • August 25, 2011 6:58 am

      It is quite tasty, especially with fresh summer produce!

      • Connie permalink
        October 10, 2014 2:31 pm

        1st ca clam chowder, served guyere cheese bread. no cream, no tomatoes, mostly thin sliced carrots and red potatoes, a little celery, clams and juice, some light chicken broth. very real delicate and gosh it is pretty. found in 1976 at the barge in in alameda on the estuary. please try and recreate this tasty bit of history. its easy, clean and low cal.

        • October 15, 2014 2:04 pm

          Hi Connie,
          Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve been searching and trying to find the recipe for Quinn’s Lighthouse’ clam chowder with no luck. There are many others who sing its praises besides you. I may have to try my hand at it from your description. Though I might have to make a “field trip” to California to try it first. 😉

  4. Connie permalink
    October 10, 2014 2:15 pm

    barge in, alameda california clam chowder

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