This recipe includes all the traditional ingredients for true New England clam chowder--fresh shellfish, bacon, potatoes, and cream--yet it's rich and thick without turning glunky.
7 pounds cherrystone clams, scrubbed and rinsed
3 cups water
4 bacon strips, finely chopped
1 medium-size Spanish onion, diced small
2 tablespoons flour
3 large red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup heavy cream
In a large soup pot over high heat, add clams to water. Bring to a boil and cook just until clams open, about 10 minutes. Remove clams from broth and set aside. (Discard any clams that don't open.) Strain broth through a sieve lined with a coffee filter and set aside.
Clean your soup pot; then, over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until it's browned and fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Add diced onion to pot and sauté until translucent.
Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Whisk in reserved clam broth. Add potatoes and thyme, and simmer 10 minutes.
Remove clams from shells, reserving liquid, and chop roughly. Strain liquid; then add clams and liquid to pot. Stir in parsley, cream, and reserved bacon; cook just long enough to heat clams through, about 3 minutes.