Manhattan Clam Chowder

6 to 8 main course servings
  • 8 pounds quahog or large cherrystone clams, scrubbed and rinsed, opened clams discarded
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt

In a large stockpot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, quickly stir clams well with a wooden spoon, and recover. Allow clams to cook 5 to 10 minutes longer (this will depend on the type and size of clams you are using), or until most of the clams are opened. Transfer clams to a large bowl or baking dish and strain broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. (You should have about 6 cups of clam broth. If not, add enough water to bring the volume up to 6 cups.) When clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set clams and broth aside.

In a large heavy pot add bacon and render until golden and crispy. Pour off all fat except 4 tablespoons. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Do not allow to color. Add garlic, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add potatoes, reserved clam broth, and chicken stock and bring to a boil, covered. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the broth has thickened somewhat. Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add reserved clams and parsley and season with pepper and salt, if necessary. Allow chowder to sit for up to 1 hour to allow flavors to meld, then reheat slowly over low fire if necessary. Do not allow to boil.

View All

Cooking Tips
Loading review filters...

    63 Reviews
    0/1000 characters
    Your Rating:
    Sort by: 
    Pretty good, but was a little bland
    Too spicy! I made the canned clam version and followed the recipe exactly. The chowder tasted more like chili, not chowder. If I make this again I will only use a good pinch of red pepper.
    Awesome recipe!
    Best Manhattan Chowder I have ever had. I followed the directions almost to the letter, but used canned clams instead with their broth, and some homemade chicken stock that I'd made from a smoked chicken, which gave it another layer of flavor. I also stuck an immersion blender in before I added the tomatoes to thicken the soup, which I would highly recommend. Fantastic flavor!
    Really delicious. I am in California so was not able to get fresh clams but my butcher had frozen which were terrific. I actually followed the recipe which is unusual only substituting Aleppo pepper for the red crushed. My family likes spicy so Tapatio was on the table to suit them. I will make this a regular chowder as I prefer this over the heavier cream based Boston style. Fabulous and easy and with sourdough from SF it was the real deal.
    It may be worth the fresh clams but I didn't have any. I didn't have celery or bacon. Ok, it's too cold outside to go out so I made it with what I already have. I used 2 cans of baby clams, and sauted the onions in 2 tbsp. butter and 1/8 cup olive oil. Everything else was per the recipe. OMG, I did not miss the bacon and the flavor was amazing. I will make this again exactly how I made it, except I would buy celery next time. This is a keeper!!!!
    I'm sorry but if you leave out half the ingredients how can you give it less than five stars? You didn't make the recipe.
    Amazing! I added just a pinch of saffron & served it with a gremolata of fresh parsley fresh thyme lemon zest & garlic. It is WORTH the fresh clams & your own broth...just do it!!! Yum! 
    I lived on the Jersey Shore and ALWAYS got my chowder from the Fishermans Co-op docks in Point Pleasant. This chowder is just as good as theirs, with more spice.
    I'm not fond of peppers so I don't include them, but this is simple, tasty and delicious. As an aside, you can add cod, scallops and mussels to make a great fish soup. Just add them during the last 15 minutes of cooking ,or on the second night if you've made more chowder than you can eat. a truly awesome dish.
    I had to make some changes because of available ingredients: 1/2 cup diced leeks instead of onions, 1/2 green bell pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper, and I used 2 dozen cherry-stone clams (not sure how many pounds that isalso I used 6 ounces of canadian bacon with an extra 1/2 tbs of EVOO. This was the BEST Manhattan Clam Chowder that I have ever had
    I usually prefer the traditional cream based clam chowder but I tried this to mix it up, following the suggestions of previous raters (cans of clams, frozen corn, tomato paste and it was excellent!
    I have a recipe from the New York Times from 1984 which is pretty much the same. Only difference is you use salt pork along with the bacon. Gives a richer broth and it doesnt wilt like the bacon. Use about a half pound, fry it then remove and dice the pork removing the fat.
    easy, fun , great tasting !!!!!!
    Simple to make and great taste. I will definitely cook this again.
    My husband is a Manhattan Clam Chowderhead, I'm a New England Clam Chowderhead. For YEARS, we never crossed lines. I've tried but have never met a red clam chowder recipe I liked...until now. I read the reviews and gave it a go. Oh yes, it's everything reviewers say it is. If you are looking for a fabulous recipe for red chowder, this is it. I used 6 small cans of chopped clams, juice from the cans, and added bottled clam juice to the juice from cans to make 6 cups. This is a soup you would get in a fine restaurant. It makes quite a bit and freezes well too. Fantastic!!! Thank you, Emeril. You've done it again!
    My new favorite soup!!!! 60 years old and have never had manhattan soup (can you believe it, I would only eat new england (can't have very ofter due to richness-couldn't compromise, Wow!!!! great taste and of course had to put my touch on it, the second time-on that I made it I use slightly less oregano, 2 tbsp of old bay and at removal from the heat I added a package of frozen white corn. Yum thanks Emeril
    The next time I try this recipe, I will use fresh clams, but this time, as a quick soup, I used 6 small cans of clams, drained and juice reserved, added bottled clam juice to the reserved juice to make the 6 cups. Also left out the crushed red pepper since my husband doesn't like MCC spicy. SO glad we have enough for more than 2 meals, this was delicious. Definitely 5 stars!
    Soooo Good! I love this chowder much more the New England style and it is really easy to make.
     I used 1- 51 ounce (3lbs 3ounce can of "Cape May Chopped Sea Clams" made by La Monica Foods, Millville NJ, and 3 Tbls. of Minors Crab Base mixed with another 51 ounces of water. If you love to cook, you need Minor's Bases in your fridge when you do not have time for homemade stocks. All 100% natural and good.
     I added one 6 ounce can of tomato paste, some fresh dill, rosemary and thyme. Add 2 cups white dry wine to veggies after they are softened and reduce liquid by half, then add in your stocks. I had 6 other people over to eat and they all LOVED this so much! Cape May canned clams were bought at Wholey's Seafood Market here in Pittsburgh PA, but I am sure you can find quality canned clams in your local market.
    Great recipe. Like other reviewers, I substituted fresh clams with 5 cans of chopped clams, and used 5 bottles of clam juice, a cup of water and a splash of white wine. (I was afraid to use the juice of the clams in the can due to the salt level so I did not. THE ONE THING I WOULD CHANGE after tasting this is to add less bay leaf. I really think one would do the trick. Bay leaf is a strong flavor anyway, and it largely overpowered this recipe to me.
    Fixed both Emeril's Manhattan Clam Chowder and a New England Chowder from another site for our 2012 Super Bowl Party. Just like the Giants, Manhattan drew the most raves from the 20+ in attendance. Had three requests for the recipe.
    BAM! This chowder was a delicious compliment to our Sunday dinner. Loved the recipoe, read the reviews and adjusted to my home ingredients. Used canned chopped clams and there was plenty per spoonful! Adding this to the recipe box!
    Very nice and easy 2 prep tasty
    The recipe is good to use as a base line. I cut this recipe in half with a few modifications. I used 2 dozen cherry stone clams. I nearly doubled the amount of bacon. I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. I also added about a quarter of a cup of dry red wine and a few "strings" of saffron along with about 3/4 tablespoon of fine herbs. This came out great and was a huge hit.
    Largely, the people who rated this with less than five stars were the people who *added their own spin on it*. My advice, cook the recipe without your spin for five stars. 
    Harvested the limit of ten huge pismo clams here in san diego, california. All I can say about this recipe is WOW with a slight modification! Because these pismos were 5" to 6" plus, I shucked'em, saved the juice, chopped up the all the clam meat, put the pismo clam meat and juice into a pot, added two cups of white wine, put the pot on the stove, heated them until it just started to boil, took the pot off the stove and added enough water to yield 6 cups of delicious broth. I ran out of red pepper flakes so, I substitute that ingredient with about a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Combined with garlic butter and bacon baked pismo clams (the other huge pismos my father harvested, fresh crusty french bread from the good'ol local bakery and plus the chowder, this meal was BAMMMMM!!!! The pismo clams were sooooo sweet!!! We may just go back to the shore on a negative low tide to try this again because, I forgot to peel the tomatoes...but it still came out o'kay ;-
    We absolutely love this chowder. It goes very good with our homemade artisan bread and butter. Thank you for sharing :)
    This recipe rocks! I grew up on the East end of Long Island and was spoiled by many bowls of the very best chowder. This recipe is perfect in terms of measurements, cooking times, and most important...taste!! Can't beat using fresh clams and the natural broth, so I would avoid using canned clams and broth. The crushed pepper gives it just the right kick. Try it and you'll be amazed.
    I read through ALL of the reviews, before attemtping this recipe...just to be sure of hints and helps. The best advice I found was to simply use 5 cans of chopped clams (I used Snow's) and 6 bottles of clam juice. The rest of the recipe I followed EXACTLY...especially the part about letting it sit and blend for an hour minimum before servng. I have never made Manhattan clam chowder before, or eaten it, for that matter...I am a die hard New England clam chowder fan. Through, and through. After trying this recipe, I can't express enough how, easy, and DELICIOUS it is. Loved, loved, loved it.
    I agree with most.....this produced a really good Manhattan Clam Chowder.
     However I have a question about the recipe. The recipe states to cook the clams in 2 cups of water. Right? And then, once the clams are properly cooked after 10-15 minutes, it says after you strain the broth through a fine-meshed sieve, you should have 6 cups of broth. How? Where does the extra 4 cups of clam broth magically come from. Funny nobody mentioned this before.
    tell captbill42 to throw his water nuts back in the water and invent a new kind of chowder with them and put his name on it.
    tell captbill42 to throw his water nuts back in the water and invent a new kind of chowder with them and put his name on it.
    Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you! your flag was submitted.

    Not what you're looking for? Try:

    Manhattan Clam Chowder

    Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen