Manhattan Clam Chowder


I just got back from my last holiday get-together of the season, and while it’s nice to see everyone I have to admit that I’m so happy it’s finally over! All of that traveling is exhausting, and I think I’ve eaten enough cookies over the past two weeks to last me until summer. Everyone kept trying to send me home with goodies, but I honestly just didn’t want them. I’m tired of eating garbage, and I can feel the negative effects that eating like like this has had on my body. I’m definitely ready to get some balance back in my diet.

I made this clam chowder last week, and it’s exactly the type of dish that I’m looking forward to eating over the next few weeks. We love clam chowder, but typically go for the creamy New England style over the tomato-based Manhattan style. I wasn’t in the mood for a creamy soup this time though (even if I lightened it in terms of calories, it seemed too heavy), so I set out to make a new and improved Manhattan Chowder.

And improved I did! First, I used fire-roasted tomatoes since I love the way they taste with seafood. They gave the soup a really nice flavor that was mellower and less tomatoey than typical soups. A few slices of bacon lent a slight smokiness and tabasco passed at the table provided some heat. Nutritious vegetables added bulk to make the soup filling while keeping the calorie count down, and fresh seafood made the dish seem special. Shawn was actually very skeptical when I said I wanted to make this, because he hates tomatoes so tomato based soups really aren’t his thing. He loved it though, and told me that I should make it again! Served with a crusty piece of bread to sop up the broth, this is the perfect dinner on a snowy January night.


In addition to fresh littlenecks, I used a can of Crown Prince Natural Boiled Baby Clams in this soup. I was planning to use whatever canned clams I could fin at the grocery store, but I saw these at the co-op and figured it was easier to just grab them there and save myself the trip. I really liked them and will buy them again, as well as check out the other products in the line. The clams were small and tender with no grit – much less chewy than other canned clams I’ve had. Any canned clams will work in this soup, but if you don’t have a favorite I do recommend using these (or another brand of baby clams, although I’m not sure if that’s what made them so good) if you can find them.

Once you add them clams, be careful not to let the soup come to a boil or they will toughen – just heat it gently to bring them up to temperature. I found that the soup was hot enough to do this even off the burner. The soup is also great leftover – just remove the clam shells before storing and again be careful not to let the soup come to a boil while reheating it. I found that a minute and a half in the microwave (stirring halfway through) was plenty of time to heat it enough without resulting in tough clams.

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Serves: 8
  • Manhattan Clam Chowder
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano (dry)
  • 1 tsp basil (dry)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 red potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can baby clams
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • Tabasco to taste
  1. Fry the bacon in a large soup pot over high heat until crispy - about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the onion and garlic. Cook until translucent - about 5 minutes more. Add the celery, carrot, by leaf, and spices. Cook until vegetable begin to soften.
  2. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, 2 cups water, and the liquid from the canned clams (reserve meat). Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes and carrots are soft - about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add 2 cups water to a second pot. Add the littleneck clams, cover, and steam for 10 minutes or until opened. Discard any clams that don't open, and set the rest aside.
  4. When potatoes have softened, remove pot from heat. Stir in the canned crab meat and the littlenecks. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Allow each diner to season their bowl to taste with Tabasco.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 90 Fat: 2.5 Fiber: 1.5 Protein: 7.7



  1. I love hearty soups in the winter!

  2. Unplanned Cooking says:

    That is a beautiful soup. I love anything seafood, esp. when spiced up with tomatoes.

  3. Manhattan clam chowder is one of my favorite soups. I adore the savory flavors. I agree with you on the holiday cookies, I felt like I was being pushed cookies at every turn. Time to get back to a healthier menu. :)

  4. Beautiful photos! I remember seeing one on twitter and being blown away =D. The soup sounds great!

  5. Beautiful clam chowder pictures! Makes me want to eat it all up ; )

  6. oh wow looks amazing great job, hope you get feeling all healthy again lol

  7. Lovely. I’m a sucker for some good clam chowder. This is would be perfect on those clod days. Yum!!

  8. My parents were so angry when I refused to take any leftovers home from Christmas. They just didn’t understand that I enjoyed it while I was eating it, but didn’t really need to be eating it every day for the next week! I just wanted to get back to eating my own healthy food.

    The clam chowder looks delicious! And it must have been if you converted a non-tomato lover.

  9. glucosamine says:

    Frankly speaking that I have never tasted this recipe of clam chowder before.I will surely try this recipe.This is something new and different recipe for me.Thank you very much for this new recipe.

  10. Your clam chowder sounds amazing with fire roasted tomatoes!

  11. Won over by the 1st photo…and then wanting to have me a cup of that chowder, with a bit of hot chili …. and especially today with the snow we have!!!!!!!!

  12. Wow, your photos are stunning. I have never had Manhattan clam chowder, but now, I can’t wait to try! Sounds amazing.

  13. The photos are so gorgeous. The new camera lens is a keeper :)

    Not a fan of clam chowder and have lived and been around it all of my life. It does look pretty.

  14. Oh wow….this looks much better than the one I just had in DC!! (and I paid 12 bucks for that!) I love Manhattan style too :-D it just makes me feel right and feel lighter. Thanks for the recipes, awesome.

  15. Looks delish! Love the new lens!

  16. I love fire roasted tomatoes in soup too! They are such a great shortcut. They’re the secret ingredient to my black bean soup!

  17. This looks perfect. Just like you said – not too heavy, but still warm & delish!

  18. This looks restaurant quality! Love the use of the fire roasted tomatoes- nothing like a little kick :) Happy new Year!

  19. the roasted tomatoes sold me – this looks and sounds mighty tasty!

  20. Gorgeous chowder–really stunning and I love the fire-roasted tomatoes. I’m glad you are sending it to Souper Sundays. ;-)

  21. This recipe makes me wish I lived in a place with fresh seafood! It sounds so good!

  22. Very hearty looking soup..great pic..

  23. Simple and gorgeous.. .Great recipe and photo!

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  25. OMG!!! I just whipped up a batch of Clam Chowder (FROM A CAN) and it was soooo… good. I love clam chowder.

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