Both types of clam chowder contain potatoes -- and in the case of Manhattan chowder, other vegetables -- along with clams and bacon to make a hearty stew. A hunk of crusty bread, such as French or sourdough, and a green salad made with mixed lettuce, cucumbers, walnuts and a simple lemon vinaigrette creates a complete meal. New England clam chowder makes a delicious full meal when served in a bread bowl, too.
Tomato-y Manhattan chowder has a lighter broth, so the overall meal is less heavy than one made with New England chowder.
A classic New England dinner invariably includes some the seafood bounty fished from the shore. In a meal such as this, creamy clam chowder -- along with oysters on the half shell -- are the appetizers. The main meal may be composed of whole boiled or steamed lobsters or traditional lobster rolls. Serve boiled ears of corn on the side and a blueberry pie or cobbler for dessert.
A cup of creamy New England clam chowder also makes a starter for a typical New England shore dinner or clambake in summer. These feasts of scallops, mussels, clams, lobster, summer squash, corn, new potatoes and pearl onions are cooked together in one pot with classic spices such as dried thyme and bay leaves. Clambakes sometimes include sausage, carrots and other vegetables too.
Rhode Island Clam Chowder
A not-so-commonly found chowder, Rhode Island style, features a thinner, clam-flavored broth with chunks of fresh, briny clams. This chowder is a satisfying meal for seafood lovers when served with soda water or oyster crackers and a Caesar salad. Have it as a light brunch or lunch with an, optional, celebratory bloody Mary.