Manhattan Clam Chowder with Fresh Thyme

Each season lasts about 3 months long. But the cold and snowy winter time seems to hang on longer than spring, summer, and fall. Instead of lamenting about the freezing temperatures and snow drifts piling up outside, live the hygge lifestyle like the Scandinavians. Hunker down by a warm fire with family and friends and enjoy a homemade steaming pot of Manhattan Clam Chowder with Fresh Thyme.

A home life trend that is spreading like wild fire is hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). It has its roots in Denmark and Norway and means a feeling of being cozy and content while enjoying the simple things in life. Even with their long, dark winters, these northern European countries are annually rated as the happiest places to live in the world mainly do to the practice of hygge.

How is a hygge-like atmosphere created? Lots of lit candles, roaring fireplaces, throw blankets, homemade comfort foods, and warm drinks including Irish coffee and hot chocolate all foster the cozy lifestyle.

Just as important to hygge as a cozy home and delicious comfort food is promoting togetherness and friendship. Inviting family and friends over for a comforting meal such as my recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder with Fresh Thyme and an evening of comradery and board games reinforces the joy of the simple life.

As with most soups and chowders, the most difficult and time-consuming step is the chopping of the vegetables. Carrots, onions, and celery are the powerful trio or mirepoix that provide the first layer of flavor of the chowder. Zucchini and potatoes add a chunky dimension to the one pot meal.

What distinguishes Manhattan from New England clam chowder is the base. As opposed to the milk or cream in the version popular in Massachusetts, the Manhattan variety features crushed tomatoes and clam juice. Fresh clams can be used in the chowder but, canned chopped clams are a suitable alternative. Just be sure to only add them at the end of the simmering time. If they cook for too long, they will become tough and chewy.

A big tossed salad with chopped cucumbers, shredded carrots, spicy pepperoncinis, thinly sliced red onion with a light balsamic vinaigrette and a loaf of warm bread compliment the hearty clam chowder. Gather with family and friends and foster an atmosphere of coziness on a cold winter’s evening.

Manhattan Clam Chowder with Fresh Thyme
Recipe type: entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 qts
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced, about 1 ½ cups
  • 3 carrots, diced, about 1 ½ cups
  • 2 medium zucchinis, diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced, about 2 cups
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle of clam juice
  • 5 (6 and ⅕ ounce) cans chopped clams, drain and reserve the liquid
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat to shimmering. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and sauté until the onions are softened and translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and sauté for an additional 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the potatoes, crushed and diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, clam juice and reserved juice for the canned clams and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The chowder will be slightly thickened and the potatoes will be tender. Add the clams and fresh thyme and just heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Recipe by Amy Casey ~ 2018

© 2018 amycaseycooks


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