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Clam Chowder

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How to Make Easy New England Clam Chowder YIELD Serves 4 to 6, Makes about 6 cups
    3 slices  bacon,, (about 3 ounces)
    1 clove  garlic
    2 small  celery stalks
    1/2 medium  yellow onion
    12 ounces  red or Yukon gold potatoes, (about 2 medium)
    1  bay leaf
    1/4 teaspoon  dried thyme
    3/4 teaspoon  kosher salt, plus more as needed
    1/4 teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
    2 (6-1/2-ounce) cans  chopped clams
    1/4 cup  all-purpose flour
    2 (8-ounce) bottles  clam juice
    1/3 cup  heavy cream
Cocktail sherry to taste Harvey?s Bristol cream to taste Siracha to taste
      Unsalted butter to taste
      Lemon juice to taste

Oyster crackers and coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop the bacon and vegetables. Finely chop 3 slices bacon and place in a large saucepan or small pot. Finely chop 1 garlic clove and place in a medium bowl. Dice 2 small celery stalks (about 2/3 cup), and 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup), and add to the bowl with the garlic. Dice 12 ounces red or Yukon Gold potatoes (no need to peel, about 1 1/2 cups).
Cook the bacon and aromatics. Cook the bacon over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered out, about 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture (reserve the bowl), 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until the onion starts to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the clams.
Drain the clams and reserve the clam juice. Strain 2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams through a fine-mesh strainer into the reserved bowl.
Add the flour. Sprinkle 1/4 cup all-purpose flour over the bacon mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
Add the clam juice and potatoes. While stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, pour in the strained clam juice and 2 bottles clam juice. Add the potatoes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the clams and cream. Add the drained clams and 1/3 cup heavy cream. Stir to combine and bring back to a simmer. Taste and season with more salt and black pepper as needed. Discard the bay leaf and serve with oyster crackers and garnished with the parsley if desired.

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