Do you like clam chowder? Which type do you prefer? The New England clam chowder with the white cream base or the Manhattan clam chowder with a tomato base?
I like them both, but I’m not a fan of making New England clam chowder from scratch. When it comes to New England clam chowder I usually buy a can, after carefully scrutinizing the ingredients. I’m a pescatarian. I eat seafood but I don’t eat meat. It it has claws or hooves and walks on the land, I don’t eat it.
How is the soup base made?
For those of you who are omnivores, it won’t matter to you if a soup is made from a beef broth or has bacon in it. For someone like me, I can get ill very fast if I consume something that was contaminated with a meat product. You’d be surprised how many times I’ll go to a restaurant and ask if the soup has a meat base and the server doesn’t know. But to their credit, they go to the kitchen and ask the cook and report back to me.
When I was researching places to see and restaurants to eat at before my Oregon getaway in September 2018, I came across a restaurant in Newport called the Chowder Bowl. I sent them an email asking if there was any meat products in their clam chowder and they let me know they do not. Yay! I planned to have one of their famous clam chowders in the sourdough bread bowl. Newport is about 30 miles from Lincoln City where I spent a couple of nights at the wonderful Ester Lee, and I drove down to Newport for a few hours to shop and look around. When I got hungry for lunch I headed to the Chowder Bowl … only to discover nowhere to park. The streets were jam packed.
When I’m leaving my two dogs in the car, I don’t like to be away for long periods of time, and if I’m eating somewhere I like to have a table where I can keep an eye on my car, or if there’s outside patio seating, have my dogs with me. Unfortunately, I was unable to do that and had to cancel my clam chowder lunch. And I was really looking forward to that too!
I don’t make my own New England clam chowder from scratch. For someone who’s working on losing weight, I also look at the obvious, that it’s higher in calories than the Manhattan clam chowder which is lower in fat and cholesterol. I have a dickens of a time finding in a can of Manhattan clam chowder in the grocery stores. I know Campbell’s makes it, but do you think any of the grocery stores are stocking it on their shelves? Not recently.
So, what’s a girl to do? Make her own, of course!
Let’s get started
Gather up the things you’ll need to make the Manhattan clam chowder in an Instant Pot. I use the 7 in 1 Instant Pot.
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If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t panic. You can dump all these ingredients into your slow cooker for 7 to 8 hours on Low, or about half that time on High.
The most work I went through with this recipe was chopping vegetables. Being a single, I usually find I can’t eat an entire bunch of celery or a bag of onions before they go soft or rot, so I chop and freeze to use later in a casserole or soup. Even though I already had celery and onions in the freezer, I decided to go fresh this time. The fresh celery was purchased for something else I was making, and I had it on hand, so why not? As for the frozen onions, I was getting low, so it was time to stock up.
I also used fresh carrots, but that’s mainly because I bought a 5 pound bag so my horses could enjoy them! Usually I have mini carrots in the fridge and I chop them up for recipes. Peeling and slicing carrots is not a fun task for me, but I did it! I needed 2 carrots for this recipe.
Peel and slice.
I’m not a huge fan of onions, so I cut a quarter of an onion and chopped it for the easy Instant Pot Manhattan clam chowder.
Then I chopped two stalks of celery.
I had one red pepper in the fridge that was starting to look a little sad. I bought it a week earlier thinking I’d use it in a salad. It was still in pretty good shape, just starting to go soft, so I chopped the whole thing and put it into the Instant Pot.
Look at all the vibrant colors of those fresh vegetables! I remember reading somewhere that the more colorful the vegetables are, the better they are for you. That’s probably why I choose red, yellow, and orange peppers over green ones.
Add one can of clams to the Instant Pot. Now here it gets tricky with the grams to ounces conversion. In Canada we’re metric, but I’ve always been more comfortable using imperial measurements like they do in the states. The can of clams was about 284 grams or about 10 ounces. In it goes, juice and all!
Next add a large can of tomatoes, this will be the 28 ounce can, or about 800 ml if you’re metric. When I buy canned tomatoes, I look for diced and I also look for herbs and spices added to help flavor whatever I’m cooking. I usually have chili or Mexican spiced tomatoes in the pantry for when I make veggie chili.
Add one large can of diced potatoes to the Instant Pot. This is about 19 ounces or 540 ml. If you’re the type of person who wants to boil and dice their own potatoes – then go for it! I’d already wasted enough time peeling those carrots. I wasn’t getting ambitious with the potatoes too!
It’s all about keeping “easy” in the Easy Instant Pot Manhattan Clam Chowder!
Now comes the hardest part for me. Buying a jug of tomato juice to put in the clam chowder. I usually buy a V-8 type juice. You know, get my veggies in. Clamato juice would also work really well in the Manhattan clam chowder. My issue is that I don’t particularly like tomato juice. I mean, it’s OK, but if I’m going to drink juice, I’d rather drink fruit juice. The problem is I have to buy a good sided bottle of tomato based juice for one cup in a recipe, and then I forget it’s in the fridge and don’t drink it before it goes bad.
Who needs a reminder of when it’s OK not to get what you paid for? I just hate being wasteful. After I used the vegetable cocktail in the clam chowder, I forgot I had the juice in the fridge until a week later. A quick check of the label where it says use within 10 days of opening, and I quickly drank two glasses.
This time I bought Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand vegetable cocktail that’s low in sodium. At least I saved money by not buying a better known brand!
I added one cup of the vegetable cocktail to the Instant Pot. Then I eyeballed it and decided the Instant Pot Manhattan clam chowder needed a bit more, and added another half cup to the pot.
Add some spices to the Manhattan clam chowder, whatever you like. I thought about adding lemon pepper, but I recently bought Cool Runnings garlic, pepper & herbs and gave that a few good shakes. I also added some dried parsley.
You go with what you like to season your soup. You could add a bay leaf, thyme, basil, sage, or anything else. You’re the one eating it. Make sure you get it tasting the way you want.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the vent is in the sealing position.
Push the “Soup” button. It should come up as 30 minutes. If a different time comes up, use the manual button and the + or – key to adjust to 30 minutes.
Then walk away and read a book, watch TV, go for a walk and let the Instant Pot do its magic.
When the timer goes off, I leave the soup alone until the Instant Pot naturally depressurizes, and let it keep warm until I’m ready for my Manhattan clam chowder.
This is a wonderful dish to enjoy on a cold day. It is chunky and full of good for you vegetables. Leave it in the fridge for a couple of days in an air tight container. It freezes well. I portioned out servings into freezer bags and then put them into the freezer standing up. My little phobia about not lying the freezer bags down, just in case they didn’t seal properly. I don’t need to be cleaning up a mess in the freezer!
If freezing, plan ahead and put the freezer bag into the fridge to thaw for a couple of days. Put the bag into a soup bowl or plate first. Remember what I said about potential spillage. When the easy Instant Pot Manhattan clam chowder has thawed, cook it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- ¼ onion, chopped
- 1 pepper, chopped (omit if you don’t have on hand)
- 1 can clams, 10 ounces
- 1 can diced tomatoes, 28 ounces
- 1 can diced potatoes, 19 ounces
- 1 cup vegetable cocktail
- Season to taste
- Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot. Put lid on Instant Pot, ensuring the sealing position is on. Press the “Soup” button. Ensure it’s set for 30 minutes. If not, use the manual button to adjust the time. When the timer goes off, let the Instant Pot naturally depressurize, about another 20 minutes, before removing lid and serving.