I’ll Take Manhattan…Chowder for Monday

“Anyone who thinks they’re too grown up or too sophisticated to eat caramel corn is not invited to my house for dinner”
Ruth Reichl

Perfect cold weather, why yes perfect for a nice hot bowl of chowder that is, so toss a salad together, bake up a batch of cheddar bay muffins, plop down in front of a fire, and watch Goodfellas or The Godfather…

Inspired by Ruth Reichl while thumbing through the Gourmet Cookbook and perusing online recipes I decided that the day was perfect for a nice hot bowl of chowder, Manhattan style, and surprise, no Instant Pot version today.  I made a few changes, but nothing totally necessary except that the clam season has been pretty lousy since the hurricane and with so much rain since then, I resorted to canned clams, bottled broth, some previously made frozen broth, and a few of my own fresh spices perked it up quite nicely, several pinches of my freshly made dried Italian sausage seasoning, a lovely rosemary and lemon salt that has become a staple around here, good for lots of things like grilled meats, seafood, roasted vegetables and of course soups and stews…a fantastic optional addition that I use in my various clam chowders is rendered and crispy pancetta cubes reserving the crispy bits and using the rendered fat along with the butter…

Manhattan Clam Chowder adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook/Ruth Reichl
Serves 8-10 about 10 cups

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
3 cups boiling potatoes (I used baby Yukon golds, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
48 small clams, shucked and roughly chopped (save the clam juice)-
or 2-3 cans chopped clams, drain juice into the pot reserve clams
3 bottles of clam juice stirred into 3 cups of water…I prefer a thicker so I cut the water in half
1-28-32 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large bay leaf
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

Melt butter in a hot soup pot, add onions and celery sautéing until soft 5-8 minutes
Peel and cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, or use unpeeled baby potatoes and quarter them
Add tomatoes, potatoes, and garlic, stir for 2 minutes.
Strain the clam liquor through a fine mesh strainer and add the juice to the pot along with the clam juice-water mixture.  Toss in all of the herbs and spices bring to a boil and then turn the burner down to simmer, stirring now and then until the potatoes are nice and tender about 20 minutes.  Toss in the chopped clams and parsley.  Remove the bay leaf and season to taste.

Without knowing the exact recipe I designed a salad similar to Beatrice Inn’s salad with slivered green beans, peppery radishes, and lightly dressed with a dill vinaigrette…Yep and we enjoyed some freshly baked cheddar bay biscuits.

What a fine dinner for a very cold night!