MANHATTAN CLAM CHOWDER (with tomatoes, about 10 cups, serving six)

 Soups, chowders, Manhattan clam chowder 2  Soups, chowders, Manhattan clam chowder 3

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

2 celery ribs, cut into ½ inch pieces (1 cup)

¾ pound boiling potatoes

one 28-to-32-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice, drained (juice reserved) and coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced, or to taste

48 small, hard-shelled clams (less than 2 inches wide), such as littlenecks, shucked, liquor reserved, and coarsely chopped

three 8-ounce bottles clam juice, stirred together with 3 cups water

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

1 Turkish bay leaf or ½ California bay leaf

freshly ground black pepper

pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

2/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Melt butter in a 4 to 6 quart heavy pot over moderate heat. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into ½ inch cubes.

3. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic to onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Strain reserved clam liquor through a fine-mesh sieve and add to pot, along with the reserved tomato juice and clam juice mixture. Add basil, thyme, bay leaf, black pepper to taste and optional red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, skimming off froth occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Stir in clams and parsley and cook over moderate heat, stirring, just until clams are firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season with salt to taste.

from The Gourmet Cookbook

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