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BackstoryBefore we get started: an alternative to the minced clams and clam juice is buying 10 lbs of fresh clams, boiling, shucking, draining them yourself. If you do this, save 8 cups of the clam stock and go that route. Otherwise, HERE WE GO!
- 3 cups Clam Juice
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 6 slices Butcher Bacon
- 4 tbs Butter
- 2 10 oz cans minced clams
- 2 large Leeks, washed thoroughly, sliced thin
- 1 cup finely chopped Walla Walla Sweet (Or other sweet) onion
- 1 clove Garlic, chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh Lemon Thyme
- 3 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed thoroughly, with peels intact, chopped into 1/2 in. cubes
- 2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 or heavy cream
- Heat large skillet to medium high. Pan-fry bacon until crisp and brown. Remove bacon from pan. Set bacon aside. Add leeks/onions to bacon fat in pan. Sauté for five or six minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile chop bacon fine. Add back to skillet and stir. Add contents of skillet to pot. Add potatoes, butter, clams, 2 sprigs lemon thyme (it works well to remove thyme leaves using pinch and slide method. Also makes your hands smell good) to pot as well. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer ½ hour. To attain chowder consistency, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon and stir into chowder. Add cream, remaining lemon thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low heat another 15 minutes to half an hour. DO NOT BOIL. Salt and pepper to taste.
- If you wish it to be really creamy, toss 3 cups into blender. (DO NOT USE FOOD PROCESSOR.) add back into pot.
- Set aside 1 hour prior to serving if you wish the flavors to meld, then reheat to serve hot. Otherwise, serve as is with nice fresh heavy bread.