Manhattan Clam Chowder was invented in the early 1800s by NYC Italians who always grew tomatoes when Portuguese fishermen had a surplus of clams. I prefer Manhattan over White, and I’m making it today. Although some recipes call for bacon, I just use 2 tablespoons olive oil to brown 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 minced or pressed clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon celery seed, 2 bay leaves, 12 ounces tomato juice, 1 14-oz can of clam broth, 2 10-oz cans of baby clams juice reserved, 1 pound cut up potatoes. Or, the second “clam” option is to use fresh clams– a dozen live small clams such as littlenecks or manila, salt and pepper to taste. Place hot sauce on the table for some of your guests.
Scrub clams clean and place in a small pot and add 2 cups water. Bring water to a boil, cover and steam until open, about 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove clams, setting them aside. Strain clam steaming liquid through a fine mesh, reserving the liquid. You will use the steaming liquid in place of clam broth.