As big game approaches, people want to know which chowder is better: New England or Manhattan?

People who line up with the Giants or Patriots this weekend also will line up for spots at buffet t
New England boasts a white, cream-colored clam chowder while New York is famous for its red Manhattan clam chowder.
New England boasts a white, cream-colored clam chowder while New York is famous for its red Manhattan clam chowder.

The big stadium bowl in Glendale, Ariz., will be filled with Giants, Patriots and thousands of football fans this Sunday.

John Greeley’s bowl will be filled with clams, crushed tomatoes, bacon and celery. Marjorie Druker will counter with a bowl full of clams, heavy cream, butter and salt pork.

It’s New York against New England in Super Bowl XLII, and a three-hour debate over football supremacy. Greeley and Druker only need a few minutes to make cases for their favorite chowders: Greeley, the executive chef at Manhattan’s high-class 21 Club, is bullish on Manhattan clam chowder. Druker, co-owner of the New England Soup Factory in suburban Boston and author of the “New England Soup Factory Cookbook,” is passionate over her New England clam chowder. Or “chow-dah.”

Chowder challenge

For more chowder recipes, check out Jeff Wilkin’s blog, Type A to Z, by clicking here.

People who line up with the Giants or Patriots this weekend also will line up for spots at buffet tables during Super Bowl parties. Clam chowders from the competing states, and desserts with metropolitan and Yankee flavors — New York-style cheesecake and Boston Cream Pie — could find places on the field of linen.

Greeley may not argue the finer points of cheesecake, but will campaign for his city’s hearty clam concoction.

“The biggest differences are one is white, one is red, one is cream-based, one is tomato-based,” he said of the New England and Manhattan mixes. “There’s a lot more vegetables in the Manhattan; the Manhattan version is, in my opinion, less heavy, because you don’t have the addition of all that cream and butter. And personally, growing up around here, that’s one we always made.

“Whenever you get New England clam chowder around here,” Greeley added, “it’s hit and miss because it’s such a basic recipe. If you use the five, six ingredients that are in the New England clam chowder and they’re not top-notch, you’re going to see it in the soup, where the Manhattan’s a little more forgiving.”

But people coming into New York City for chowder generally are not looking for the creamy mix.

“When you’re in New York, when you’re in Manhattan, you have to have Manhattan clam chowder,” Greeley said. “You can’t order the New England thing, especially in a place like ours that’s a real historic place.”

Chowder heads will celebrate their love of clams and tomatoes outside restaurants.

“I go to ‘Chowderfest’ every year on the Jersey shore (in Long Beach Island, N.J.) and they both go neck-and-neck every year, the New England against the Manhattan,” Greeley said. “There are like two dozen different recipes at any given time.”

Giants fans will disagree with Patriots fans this week. Druker said there have always been disagreements among chowder fans over the top bowl.

“It’s such a huge rivalry,” she said. “Even though there’s a recipe in my cookbook for Manhattan clam chowder, when I serve it in my stores I have to change the name. Otherwise, nobody will buy it. It’s a complete Yankees-Red Sox thing.”

Druker said New Yorkers who have moved to Boston have asked her to make more Manhattan, but it can be tough for business. “You can’t sell a true Bostonian a bowl of Manhattan clam chowder; they think it’s like counterfeit chowder,” she said.

There are reasons they prefer the thick white.

“I think the reason people like the New England version is it’s got a real Yankee feel to it with the cream and the potatoes,” Druker said. “They just go together, they make it real comfort food.”

And like people taking Manhattan at “21,” visitors to Boston are not going to see red in their soup bowls.

“It’s like going to New York and not getting a pastrami sandwich,” Druker said.

Dueling desserts

People don’t have to debate the merits over cheesecake and Boston cream pie. Recipes from gracious chefs at the Carnegie Deli in New York City and Parker’s Restaurant in the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston are also part of this Super Bowl table.

The Parker House is the home of the Boston cream pie, actually a cake. It was created by French chef M. Sanzian at the Boston’s Parker House Hotel; the pudding and cake combination was perfected and popularized in 19th century Parker House kitchens. The Boston cream pie has been designated the official state dessert of Massachusetts.

The Carnegie Deli cheesecake is another culinary slice of New York. Owner Sanford Levine has no trouble offering the recipe to people who want to try the dish at home. He said people may come close, but never really get their Carnegie cakes tasting the way they do at the sandwich-and-dessert place on Seventh Avenue.

“This isn’t horseshoes,” he said.


From executive chef John Greeley of the 21 Club, Manhattan.

1 pound fresh bacon, diced

4 carrots, peeled and diced

1 large onion, peeled and diced

4 celery stalks, diced

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pint (about 2 dozen) cleaned, shucked, coarsely chopped chowder clams and their juice

1 can (10 ounces) plum tomatoes drained and crushed

2 quarts water

2 russet or Idaho potatoes (about 1 pound), cleaned, peeled and diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Freshly grated horseradish, for garnish

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, cook the bacon until its fat begins to render. Add the diced vegetables and sauté until wilted. Add the oregano, bay leaves, garlic and cayenne. Stir in the clams with their juice and continue to sauté for two minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer another 30 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt if necessary.

Serve hot with freshly grated horseradish as a garnish.


From chef Marjorie Druker, co-owner of New England Soup Factory in suburban Boston. Recipe reprinted from the “New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation’s Best Purveyor of Fine Soup” with permission from Thomas Nelson Inc. Copyright 2007 by Marjorie Druker.

3 tablespoons butter

1 Spanish onion, peeled and diced

3 ribs celery, diced

2 small pieces (about 2 ounces each) salt pork

5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 3⁄4-inch cubes

5 cups clam juice

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon celery salt

11⁄2 pounds minced clams, preferably fresh

5 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 cups heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Oyster crackers, for serving

In a stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and salt pork. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the potatoes, clam juice, bay leaves, tarragon and celery salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and simmer for 35 minutes. Add the clams and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, cream, salt, and pepper. Simmer an additional 7 minutes and remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaves.

Garnish with oyster crackers or common crackers and a sprinkle of celery salt.


From Carnegie Deli in Midtown Manhattan.

For cookie crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

1 stick (1⁄2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1⁄4 –inch bits

For cheese filling:

11⁄4 pounds softened cream cheese

3⁄4 cup sugar

11⁄2 tablespoons flour

11⁄2 teaspoons lemon juice

11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

To make the crust, place the flour, sugar, grated lemon rind, vanilla extract, egg yolk and butter in a large mixing bowl. With your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until they are well mixed and can be gathered into a ball. Dust with a little flour, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Butter and flour the bottom of a 9-inch by 2-inch spring-form pan, and roll out a piece of dough to cover bottom. Dough should be as thick as for a normal sugar cookie (1⁄4 inch). Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven to a light brown color. Cool the pan and bottom. Butter the sides of the pan. Roll out and line the sides of the pan with more of the cookie dough. Trim excess dough from the edges.

To make the filling, place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is creamy and smooth. Beat in the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, and, when it is well incorporated, beat in the flour, lemon, vanilla, eggs and egg yolk and heavy cream. No lumps please.

For baking, preheat the oven to 485 to 500 degrees. Oven should be hot to enhance color. Pour the filling into the cookie dough lined pan, bake in the center of the oven until a dark brown color has been achieved. The cake should also start to rise slightly. Cool for 30 minutes and set oven to 350 degrees.

After 30 minutes, return cheesecake to the oven for a final baking. This procedure will set the cake.

Remember that the cheesecake is like a pudding, with only the eggs being used to firm the cake. When the cake is bouncy in the center and slightly risen in the middle as well on the sides, it’s finished.

Time will vary because of the variance in each oven (usually 25 to 40 minutes). Cool at least 2 hours before attempting to remove from the pan. Best to refrigerate overnight and serve at nearly room temperature. Fresh fruit is always a great complement. Always cut with a hot wet knife.

NOTE: If you overbake, the cake will crack and be firm. If you underbake, the cake will tend to be soft in the center.


From Parker’s Restaurant of Omni Parker House, Boston.

For sponge cake:

7 eggs, separated

8 ounces sugar

1 cup flour

1 ounce melted butter

4 ounces toasted almonds

For pastry cream:

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups milk

2 cups light cream

1⁄2 cup sugar

31⁄2 tablespoons cornstarch

6 eggs

1 teaspoon dark rum

For chocolate fondant icing:

6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

5 ounces water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon almond extract

For white fondant icing:

1⁄3 cup soft butter

1⁄3 cup Karo corn syrup (Red Label)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

31⁄2 cups (1 pound) sifted confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In two bowls, separate egg yolks and whites. Add 1⁄2 of the sugar to each bowl. Beat both until peaked. When stiff, fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Gradually add flour, mixing with a wooden spatula. Mix in the butter. Pour this mixture into a 10-inch greased cake pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until spongy and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool firmly.

To finish, level the sponge cake off at the top using a slicing knife. Cut the cake into 2 layers.

For pastry cream: In a saucepan bring the butter, milk and light cream to a boil. While this mixture is cooking, combine the sugar, cornstarch and eggs in a bowl, and whip until ribbons form. When the cream, milk, butter mixture reaches the boiling point, whisk in the egg mixture and cook to boiling. Boil for 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Chill overnight if possible. When chilled, whisk to smooth out and flavor with 1 teaspoon dark rum.

For chocolate fondant icing: In a saucepan, combine confectioners’ sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 92 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and almond extract until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

For white fondant icing: Blend butter, Karo, salt and vanilla; add sugar all at once. Mix first with spoon, then knead with hands to blend completely and smoothly. Let chill.

Place in a piping bag with a 1⁄8-inch tip.

Spread the pastry cream over 1 layer of the sponge cake. Top with the second cake layer. Reserve a small amount of the pastry cream to spread on sides, to allow the almonds to stick. (Almonds will be added later.) Spread a thin layer of chocolate fondant icing on the top of the cake. Follow immediately with spiral lines starting from the center of the cake, using the white fondant in the pastry bag. Score the white lines with the point of a paring knife, starting at the center and pulling outward to the edge.

Spread sides of the cake with a thin coating of the reserved pastry cream. Press on toasted almonds.

Categories: Life and Arts

Leave a Reply