Hearty Manhattan Clam Chowder

By Beacon Staff

One of my favorite recipes, which I have discovered since starting courses at The Culinary Institute of Montana in September, is Manhattan clam chowder.

What distinguishes a Manhattan clam chowder from the typical New England style most people are accustomed to is the use of tomato puree as a base instead of cream.

This variation gets its name and origins from Portuguese settlers in New York who, according to the more pretentious British settlers in New England, were the only ones crazy enough to add tomatoes to clam chowder.

This recipe serves as a nice farewell to the traditional clam season of mid-October through early April (although canned clams are easily sourced year-round) and makes a tasty soup for dinner on a frosty winter night.

Another noteworthy facet of this recipe is that it uses both the fresh and dried forms of the poblano chili pepper, the latter commonly referred to as ancho chilies.

The dried ancho chili adds a nice flavor while the poblano adds some texture.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 8 servings


  • 4 slices bacon, diced to half-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, skin removed, seeded and diced
  • 1 dried ancho chili, toasted gently over a flame and chopped
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large russet potato, diced
  • 1/4 cup sherry or white wine
  • 1 can chopped clams (or fresh clams if you have them available)
  • 2 bottles clam juice
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, cook bacon over low heat until it has rendered some fat but is still soft (about 5 minutes).

Add peppers and vegetables, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally to coat in fat and cook evenly.

Continue cooking mixture for about 5 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Deglaze pan by adding sherry or white wine and scraping the bottom with spoon until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add clams, clam juice, and tomatoes.

Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a buttered slice of French bread or a dinner roll.

Brady is a student of The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College.

For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com or call Instructor Hillary Ginepra at 756-3862.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.