Manhattan clam chowder differs from regular chowder because tomato is added. I went one step further and added clamato juice – it’s my secret ingredient for extra flavour!
Scrub clamshells with brush. Rinse in colander under cold running water. Discard any cracked clams.
In a large pot over medium-high heat add 2 sprigs of thyme, crushed garlic, wine and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and steam until the shells open. Any unopened clams should be immediately discarded. Reserve pot to make the soup.
Strain clams in a fined meshed strainer over a bowl, reserving the clams and clam broth. Once the clams have cooled and are easy to handle, remove clams from shells, reserving 12 of the clams in the shells for garnishing the soup.
Cook bacon in the same large pot over medium-high heat just until crisp. Reserve 1 tbsp. of bacon fat in the pot and discard remaining bacon fat.
Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrot, celery and minced garlic to the pot. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, chile and clam broth. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add the clamato juice and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until potatoes are slightly tender. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Add herbs and clams to soup and warm for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley or chervil. Garnish each bowl with a few of the clams left in the shell.