- 2 pounds fresh clams
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice, divided
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups cubed potatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Place clams in a colander and rinse under cold water. Discard any with broken or open shells; let drain.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium heat until just crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir in onions, celery, garlic and thyme. Cook until onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in 2 bottles clam juice and milk. The liquid should have a consistency similar to heavy cream. If it is too thick, add additional clam juice.
Working in batches, place clams in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Pour ½ cup clam juice on top and cover the pan. Simmer for about 4 minutes, or until clams open; discard any unopened clams. Transfer cooked clams to the pot with chowder, and cook remaining clams. Season to taste with salt and pepper; sprinkle with parsley to serve,