Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan…Clam…Chowderimage

Is that the Red or the White?
I can never remember that!
“It’s RED”…and it’s also super rich in Iron, Zinc & off the Hizzookk HIGH in B12!

People always ask, especially when seeing me eat the veggies I love, “Are you a vegetarian?”

To which I reply, “No, I’m not. But I do eat mostly vegetable based meals with occasional accents of animal protein.” I can go days, even weeks without eating animal protein except for the fact that my iron tends to be low and I don’t take supplements on a daily basis. Also, knowing the increased absorbability of iron from animal protein compared to vegetable sources of iron, I’d rather eat a little animal protein now and again. I’m especially fond of making iron rich meals that go a long way, such as a soup or stew.

Much to my chagrin, I actually learned about the iron richness of clams while catching a Dr. Oz episode in passing. In the nursing homes/rehab hospitals where I work as a consultant, there are multiple TV’s on at all hours of the days. Invariably, many are tuned into the talk show scene. When I see Ellen on the telly, I get both happy and sad. Happy, because she and her guests are just so freaking funny, and sad because I was so hoping to be a guest on her show one day, but alas…

Anywho, Dr. Oz is also always on, and one day I caught an episode where Dr. Oz had a Dietitian on discussing sources of iron. She talked about using cast iron skillets. Got ‘em. She talked about consuming vitamin C rich foods with non-animal sources of iron to increase iron absorption. I do that. But she also pointed out that a jar of clams has 70% of the Daily Value for Iron. OMG! I never knew that. The Crown Prince Wild Caught Baby Clams I used for this recipe actually contain 90% of the DV of iron per 1/2 cup serving and for a mere 50 calories. As a frame of reference, 4 oz of lean beef brisket contains only 17% of the DV for iron for 250 calories! No animal or plant food even comes close to the iron content of clams! Some will tout the iron of leafy greens, sea vegetables, or beans, but you’d have to consume 1/2 cup of spirulina (163 calories) to come close to the iron content  in 1/2 cup of clams. Certainly adding a little spirulina to your smoothies is helpful, but let’s face it: Mahattan Clam Chowder vs. a Spirulina Smoothie…The chowder tastes sooo much better!

Right after seeing that episode, of Dr. Oz, and learning about the iron richness of clams,  I made gluten free linguini with clam sauce. It was lovely. I’ll have to post that one next. But I prefer soups to pasta because I find them easier to digest. And I’ve always wanted to create a nice Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe.

While in high school, and for up to eight years after, I worked in a steak shop where the owner would often make Manhattan clam chowder with bacon. It was delicious. The bacon gave it a nice smoky flavor.

After college, I worked in a nursing home as an Assistant Food Service Manager. Around the same time, the Jim Carey movie Ace Ventura was out. I hadn’t seen it, but every time we had Clam Chowder on the menu, the kitchen staff would recite the lines Jim said when he gave the password to the doorman at a secret club.

The scene actually went like this…
Knock, Knock, Knock
Doorman: “What’s the password?”
Jim: “New England Clam Chowder.”
Doorman: “Is that the red or the white?”
Jim: “I can never remember that.”
Jim: “White.”

Who doesn’t love creamy soups, right? However, when we’re trying to be HEALTH and WEIGHT conscious, creamy soups are not the BEST choice. And, although clams are an animal source of iron, which, by default, is better absorbed than a plant source, taking in vitamin C rich foods at the same time (we get vitamin C from the tomatoes in this recipe) greatly enhances the absorption of ALL sources of iron. Plus, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant of which we can NEVER get enough.

In lieu of bacon, I opted for smoky oysters for this recipe because they impart a similar “bacon-y” flavor while also boosting the zinc, iron, copper and vitamin D of this recipe, all of which we can always use more.

When a food contains at least 10% of the Daily Value (DV) for a particular nutrient, it is considered a GOOD source of that nutrient. Well, my friends, just two cups of this one, very simple, very tasty recipe, provides 9% or more, much more in fact, of ALL of your NECESSARY vitamins and minerals!

Somehow, someway, I aim to “Save the world…One recipe at a time!”

Let’s start with Manhattan Clam Chowder. That’s the RED one!

Manhattan Clam Chowder

  • 2 cups celery, small chopped (about 6 stalks)
  • 3 cups carrots, peeled & small chopped (about 6 carrots)
  • 1 pound yellow potatoes, medium chopped (about 4-6 potatoes)
  • 1 white or yellow onion, medium chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (2.5 oz can) smoked oysters (I used RainCoast Trading Pacific Smoked Oysters)
  • 4 (10 oz) cans of baby clams
    (or the equivalent jarred clams. I used Crown Prince Wild Caught Baby Clams)
  • 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1/3 can (2 oz) tomato paste (6 oz can)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 bunch parsley (just the leaves, chopped for garnish)

ONE
Chop all the veggies and create a Mise en Place (everything in its place). A fancy French way of saying, “Put everything in its own little bowl.” image

TWO
Drain the clams in a colander placed over a bowl to reserve the liquid. Drain the whole tomatoes in another colander over a bowl and reserve the liquid. Use a knife and fork to cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Remove the oysters from the can and chop them into bite sized pieces.imageimageimage
THREE In a LARGE lidded soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and onions. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and sauté until soft, another 5 minutes. Add the celery, garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir to coat vegetables in seasonings.image

Add the clams and oysters and sauté to coat with the seasonings and flavor from your Mirepoix (softened vegetables). Sauté about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and sauté until coated with flavor, about 5 minutes.image

FOUR
Add the tomato paste and use to coat the vegetables. Sauté about 3 more minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes. The combined liquid from the clams and tomatoes should yield about 4 cups of liquid. Add the reserved liquid plus another 4 cups of water. Place the lid on the soup pot and turn heat to medium high, bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Keep covered but stir occasionally. Cook another 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.image

imageFIVE
Serve garnished with fresh parsley. The coolness of the parsley balances the heat from the red pepper flakes, plus you should always find ways to add more greens in your day. image

made this soup for the Administrator at a Rehab Hospital where I work as a consulting Dietitian. Upon tasting it, she immediately texted me “OMG. Thjs is so good!” The next day she asked for the recipe so she could make it for her family. Soooo, I’m just sayin’…

Soups ON!!

Cost per serving: $3.16
Nutrients per serving (16 oz-wt/ 2 cup / 454g): Calories: 240, Fat: 9 g, Carbs: 23 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 16 g, Sodium: 362 mg

% Daily Value
824% B-12
124% Vitamin A
85% Iron
81% Vitamin C
70% Zinc
54% Selenium
43% Copper
34% Manganese
32% Potassium
28% Niacin
21% Phosphorus
16% Riboflavin
13% Vitamin E
12% Thiamin
11% Calcium
11% Folate
10% Magnesium
9% B-6
9% Vitamin D

250 mg Omega-3 fats
3:1 Ratio of Omega-6’s to Omega-3’s (desirable is < 4:1)