Fire-Roasted Manhattan Clam Chowder

Fire-Roasted Manhattan Clam Chowder

Fire-Roasted Manhattan Clam Chowder

There are two well-known kinds of clam chowder;  New England Clam Chowder, and Manhattan Clam Chowder.  As I’ve written about here, the New England style is creamy, thick and white with lots of clams and potatoes.  The Manhattan style chowder is made with a tomato broth and contains tomatoes, usually bacon, onions, clams and potatoes.  It’s a matter of taste and preference which one you like best.

In my past experiences with chowder, New England style was homemade, but Manhattan always came out of a can, and I didn’t like it.  That changed several years ago when I happened on this recipe for a homemade version, that Mr. D. and I think is fabulous.  It’s a much lighter soup, still warming on a cold day, but fewer calories to drag you down.  Try this with some savory scones or biscuits to go with it.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

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FIRE-ROASTED MANHATTAN CLAM CHOWDER

Yield:   Makes 4 – 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6  slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch stripsIMG_6345
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery with leafy greens, stalks and leaves finely chopped separately
  • 1 large, or 3 smallish baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • One 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • One 14,5 – ounce can chicken broth
  • Two 8-ounce cans chopped clams with their juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a large saucepan or skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fat renders, about 6 minutes.  Discard the fat, and place the cooked bacon in a soup kettle.

Frying the bacon.

Frying the bacon.

2.  Add the olive oil to the saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chopped celery and onion and cook stirring, until softened.  Add in the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.   Add this to the soup kettle.

Saute onions, celery and garlic.

Saute onions, celery and garlic.

3.  To the contents of the soup kettle add the potato, the tomatoes and their juice and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add broth, potatoes and tomatoes.

Add broth, potatoes and tomatoes.

4.  Stir in the clams with their liquid and cook to warm through.  Stir in the chopped celery leaves and season with salt and pepper.  Taste before adding salt as the tomatoes likely have salt in them as well as the clams and chicken broth.  Most times I do not add any salt, just a little black pepper.

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A bowl of hot chowder is so warming on a cold day.

A bowl of hot chowder is so warming on a cold day.

SOURCE:    Cooking Light

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Frigid, but beautiful.

Frigid, but beautiful.

Right about now, the thermometer reads 7 degrees, with a wind-chill factor of –18*!.   We are in a deep freeze and this is day number 6 of it.  Brrrrr!  What’s a body to do to keep warm?  First and foremost, stay indoors.  If that’s not possible dress in multiple layers, covering ears, nose and fingertips.

What I love to do in this kind of weather is Make Soup.  There is something soothing and warming just in making it, and then simmering away, it promises more warmth and comfort later when you eat it.  Since I live in the Northeast, and this area is  well known for its creamy New England style clam chowder,  what I am making today is a variation of it called Fish Chowder (chowda, as we say).

Creamy New England Fish Chowder

Creamy New England Fish Chowder

New England style chowder is a cream or milk based soup that always contains potatoes, onions, and clams or other kinds of seafood.  You can make it rich and thick using cream, or lighten it up with light cream or milk.  I usually make mine with milk to reduce some of the fat, so that I can use bacon and its drippings for additional flavor and to sauté the onions and celery.  You may have heard of another kind of chowder that is popular here.  It is a clear broth soup served mostly in Rhode Island and parts of southeastern Connecticut.  Rhode Island style  chowder contains potatoes, clams, onions, lot of seasonings and a clear broth made from clam juice.  Everyone seems to have their favorite kind and their own way of making it, believing that theirs is the best.

My recipe is one that I have had for a long time and  I think it came from a community cookbook put out by one of the churches in the area.  This version is easy to make and we all love it.  Top each serving with some crisp bacon bits and a shake or two of hot sauce to add a little spice.

CREAMY FISH CHOWDER

Seafood. potatoes, and bacon crisped.

Seafood. potatoes, and bacon crisped.

SERVINGS:  about 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium stalks celery
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4  medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 pounds cod or other firm white fish, cut into 1/2″ pieces***
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 ( 8 0z.) bottle clam juice
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cream, light cream or milk

***I use 1 pound cod or other white fish and then add a can of clams with their juice, some bay scallops and small-medium shrimp to make the other pound of fish.

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a skillet, cook the bacon crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Set aside till serving.

2.  In a large soup pot melt the butter and olive oil, add bacon drippings.   Add the chopped onion and celery.  Sauté until tender.

Saute onions and celery.

Saute onions and celery.

3.  Add chicken stock and potatoes; simmer for about 10 minutes.

4.  Add the fish, and simmer another 10 minutes.

5.  Season to taste with the Old Bay, salt and pepper.  Mix together the clam juice and flour till smooth.  Stir into the soup.  Add the cream or  milk and heat but do not boil.  When heated through, serve in bowls, topped with bacon bits.  Shake on a dash of hot sauce if you like a little spiciness.

Sprinkle with bacon  bits to serve.

Sprinkle with bacon bits to serve.

Enjoy a bowl of hearty hot chowder and stay warm, everyone.

Hearty fish chowder.

Hearty fish chowder.