This is a classic: rich, creamy clam chowder with chunky pieces of fresh clams and potato, and a hint of smokiness from bacon.
- 3 dozen cherry stone clams , in their shells, scrubbed
- 3 cups chopped onion, divided
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups clam juice
- 2 cups water
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Oyster crackers, optional
- Combine the clams, 1 cup of the onion, celery, carrots, thyme, and bay leaves in a large pot. Cover pot; bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the clams open, about 10-12 minutes. Remove clams from their shells and transfer to a bowl; cover and cool. Meanwhile, use a wire mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or paper towel to strain the cooking liquid into a bowl and reserve. Chop cooled clams and reserve.
- Wipe out the pot and return to the stove over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to crisp, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the remaining 2 cups of onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved broth and the potatoes, increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are cooked through, 8-9 minutes. Stir in the reserved clams and cream, return to a simmer and cook uncovered until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in parsley. Serve with oyster crackers if desired.