A traditional Manhattan clam chowder recipe contains potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers. Other ingredients include leeks, garlic and baby clams. Fresh herbs and bay leaf are the aromatic components, and rendered bacon, fish stock and Worcestershire help reinforce the chowder's base.
Manhattan clam chowder is a tomato-based recipe that usually contains fresh or canned tomatoes and tomato puree. It differs in this manner from New England clam chowder, which is a roux- and cream-based chowder. Manhattan clam chowder recipes are customizable, and there are thousands of variations and possibilities.
Cooks can use different types or quantities of the same ingredients to tweak the flavor accordingly. For example, although a recipe may call for a green bell pepper, yellow, orange and red bell peppers work equally well and tend to be less pungent. Add as much or as little garlic as desired.
Some recipes call for Tabasco sauce in addition to black pepper. Martha Stewart's recipe for Manhattan clam chowder contains red pepper flakes instead of Tabasco. Any potatoes are acceptable, including Yukon gold and russet. Martha Stewart also gives her Manhattan clam chowder a trendy, Italian twist by tossing in pancetta as opposed to American bacon.
Fish stock is optional in Manhattan clam chowder recipes, and water, juice from the canned clams and tomatoes suffice for a hearty broth. Cooks can add any kind of tomatoes, such as fresh Roma, canned San Marzano, hybrids and heirlooms.