Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder is a tomato based chowder made with clams, tomatoes and vegetables basically similar preparation as a normal clam chowder.

Manhattan Clam Chowder is a tomato based chowder made with clams, tomatoes and vegetables basically similar as a normal clam chowder but instead of cream or milk tomatoes are used as its replacement. A dish created by the Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island where tomato based stews are traditionally a part of their cuisine.

During the 1890s this dish was called “Fulton Fish Market Clam Chowder” and “New York City Clam Chowder” until 1919 where Manhattan Clam Chowder was first seen used in Victor Hirtzler’sHotel St. Francis Cookbook” then become a popular name for the dish during 1930’s. This was quite a unique dish during the days due to its odd combination of ingredients, even chefs like James Beard described it as

“…that rather horrendous soup called Manhattan clam chowder… resembles a vegetable soup that accidentally had some clams dumped into it.”

First versions of this recipe appeared during 1889 in a recipe book named “The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It, and How to Serve It” by Alessandro Filippini. The recipe states:

“Wash six fine, medium sized potatoes, peel and cut them into small dice-shaped pieces, wash again in fresh water, take them up with a skimmer; place them in a stewpan large enough to hold three quarts. Immediately add two quarts of cold water (not placing the pan on the fire until so mentioned.) Peel one medium sized, sound onion, chop it up very fine, and place it on a plate. Take a quarter of a bunch of well-washed parsley greens (suppressing the stalks), place it with the onions; wash well two stalks of soup celery, chop it up very fine, place it with the parsley and onions, and add all these in the stew pan. Place the pan on a brisk fire. Season with a light pinch of salt, adding at the same time a light tablespoonful of good butter. Let all cook until the potatoes are nearly done; eighteen minutes will be sufficient. Cut from a piece of fresh pork, CROSSWISE, one slice a third of an inch thick, then cut it in pieces a third of an inch square, fry, and reduce it in a pan on the hot stove for four minutes. Add it to the broth, add also three-quarters of a teaspoonful of branch dry thyme. Lightly scald four medium-sized tomatoes, peel and cut them into small pieces and add them to the preparation. Open and place in a bowl twenty-four medium-sized, fine, clams; pour into another bowl half of their juice. Place the clams on a wooden board, cut each one into four equal pieces, and immediately plunge them into the pan with the rest; gently mix so as to prevent burning at the bottom while boiling, for two minutes. Range the pan on the corner of the stove to keep warm. Season with a saltspoonful black pepper, one tablespoonful of Worcestershire sauce, gently stir the whole with a wooden spoon; break in two pilot crackers in small pieces stir a little again. Leave two minutes longer in the same position, but under no circumstances allow to boil. Pour into a hot soup-tureen, and serve.”

Today we will be making what they call a horrendous soup and trust me if they did call this horrendous then I guess this is the best horrendous soup you will ever try. I will be making it as close as possible to the original recipe stated above using the modern ingredients and preparation that we have now.

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Manhattan Clam Chowder 1

Manhattan Clam Chowder

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American


Manhattan Clam Chowder is a tomato based chowder made with clams, tomatoes and vegetables basically similar preparation as a normal clam chowder.


  • 1 kg bag clams, scrubbed well
  • 8 pcs streaky bacon, chopped
  • 3 pcs medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium size green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 600 ml cup good quality clam stock or clam juice
  • 1 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. In a pot heat olive oil and brown bacon pieces. Remove bacon then set aside.
  2. Add the onions, green capsicum, celery and tomato paste to the pot, cook while continuously stirring until onions are soft.
  3. Add the potatoes, clam stock and chopped tomatoes bring to a boil then simmer in low heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the clams and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add some chopped parsley then serve.



2 Responses

  1. Love clam chowder! Never had one I didn’t like. And I do like Manhattan Clam Chowder — some folks turn up their noses at it, saying cream or nothing. Ha! Little do they know what they’re missing — this is good stuff. And yours looks most excellent — thanks.

  2. GiGi Eats says:

    CLAM CHOWDER is something my husband adores – so I am going to have to try this on him and see what he thinks! 🙂

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