When it comes to clam chowder, says Imogene Wolcott in The New England Yankee Cook Book (Coward-McCann, 1939), "Rhode Island and Connecticut housewives uphold the tomato. The rest of New England scorns it". This tomato version, a variation of Manhattan-style clam chowder, is based on one served at Champlin's in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1⁄2 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt
- 2 cups chopped clams, preferably quahogs
- 4 cups bottled clam juice (if shucking quahogs, use their strained liquor to replace some of the bottled juice)
- 4 large white potatoes (about 1 3/4 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1⁄2" cubes
- 1 (10 3/4-oz.) can condensed tomato soup
- 1⁄2 cup canned tomato purée
- 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Oyster crackers
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and seasoned salt; cook until softened, 8–10 minutes. Add clams, clam juice, and 1 qt. water. Raise heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add potatoes and increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until potatoes are almost cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Stir in tomato soup, tomato purée, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until potatoes are tender, 8–10 minutes more.
Ladle into soup bowls. (The chowder tastes even better when chilled overnight and reheated.) Serve with oyster crackers.