Manhattan Clam Chowder by Chef John

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Manhattan Clam Chowder by Chef John

Canned soup was one of my childhood staples. It was often served for lunch, dinner, and sometimes both. It was usually something brothy, like chicken noodle, chicken rice, or beef barley. Every once in a while, though, we’d get to enjoy a creamy bowl of New England clam chowder.

Not only was that a richer, more satisfying change of pace, but we also got to eat handfuls of oyster crackers alongside, which for some reason, still unknown to this day, we didn’t get with those other soups. Anyway, the point is that clam chowder was always a treat, so you can imagine my confusion and disappointment when one day we were served “Manhattan-style” clam chowder. It wasn’t thick, it wasn’t creamy, it wasn’t clammy, it was…weird. And no, the oyster crackers didn’t help.

Not only was the soup almost clear (and quite watery), it was also chock-full of large, slimy chunks of virtually tasteless tomato. I mean, how were they even allowed to call this clam chowder? Well, all these years later, I’m now a Manhattan clam chowder lover! Just as long as it’s not the canned variety, and instead the thicker, richer, meatier, more decadent version shown here. With or without oyster crackers, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Chef John

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