Manhattan Clam Chowder with Spicy Sausage

How can a restaurant in the only landlocked New England state claim Manhattan clam chowder as its own when the tomatoes are from Rhode Island and the clams come from the coast? Leave it to migration (and the fact that many Manhattanites have found refuge in the Green Mountain State). When Vermont native Shawn Beede attended Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, he interned in Bar Harbor, Maine, where his boss served a tomato-based chowder. Now he puts his own stamp on the form by adding spicy sausage and bacon, sourced locally from Vermont Smoke & Cure. It’s the perfect antidote to a chilly spring day and a reminder that whatever the form, New Englanders are sticklers when it comes to quality chowder.


4 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
2 spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 cup peeled and diced Yukon Gold or other white potatoes (cut into ¼-inch cubes), divided
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 ribs celery, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 green bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cups bottled clam juice
1 28-ounce can plus 1 cup diced tomatoes, including liquid
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Kosher salt to taste
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped or minced fresh clam meat, with juices


In a 5- to 7-quart pot over medium heat, cook the bacon, sausages, and ½ cup of the potatoes until the sausages and bacon are browned. (Use a spoon to break up the sausages as you go.) Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and herbs. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender and the onions translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the bottled clam juice, stirring to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatoes in their liquid and the remaining ½ cup of the potatoes. Bring the chowder to a simmer. Add Old Bay and season with salt and pepper. Simmer (don’t boil) until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the clam meat with its juices to the chowder just before serving. Serve hot.

Cooking & Recipes

Additional Resources: 

The Reservoir Restaurant & Tap Room 1 South Main St., Waterbury, VT 802-244-7827;


8 servings

Preparation Time: 

45 minutes

Start to Finish Time: 

1 hour

Preparation Method


The Reservoir Restaurant & Tap Room

Leave a Comment