2 dozen cherrystone clams, well scrubbed
2 cups water (if using a big steamer, at least double this amount)
8 oz slab bacon, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I at least doubled this amount, I like it THICK)
6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice (my husband said mine werenít small enough)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Place the clams in a large soup pot along with the 2 cups (or more, for a steamer) water. Cover, and cook over medium heat until the clams open wide. Discard any that donít open.
Remove the clams from their shells, and coarsley chop them.
Strain, reserve the broth.
Cook the bacon in the soup pot over low heat until fat is rendered and the bacon is wilted and slightly browned around the edges, about 5 minutes.
Add the butter and onions, and cook, stirring, until the onions are wilted, about 10 minutes. There is nothing quite like the smell of bacon, onions, and butter cooking together. Add the flour and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.
Add the reserved clam broth, potatoes, thyme, and pepper. Simmer another 5 minutes. I also added in some celery and carrots for color, and cooked this all a bit longer than the recipe called for, no one wants undercooked potatoes. Also, if itís WAY too thick, just keep adding in more clam broth.
Add the reserved and choped clams and simmer, stirring often, until they are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook, or the clams will be tough.
Add the milk and cream, and stir well over very low heat until hot. Do not boil, or the soup will curdle. Adjust the seasonings, stir in the parsley, and serve immediately with a good crusty bread or oyster crackers.
New England (is there really any other kind?) Clam Chowder ę picky eatings