New england clam chowder


1/4 lb bacon slices
2 onions, 1 small, quartered and 1 large, diced
1 bunch scallions, diced
2 celery stalks
3 med potatoes, peeled and diced
2 lb fresh minced clams
1 cup clam juice or 1/2 cup bottled clam juice and 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 – 1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp all purpose flour
dash of hot pepper sauce
dash of worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper

How to prepare

Bake the bacon strips in 350f oven until very crisp. Drain on paper towel. When cool enough to handle, dice and set aside. Meanwhile, in medium pot, simmer clams, juice and water combination, small quartered onion, bay leaf, parsley and one-third of the amount of thyme you will use just until cooked. Do not overcook or clams will be tough. Strain cooking liquid through a sieve. Reserve clams and juice separately; discard onion used in cooking clams.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in skillet. Add chopped onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, celery, scallions, some more of the thyme and the diced bacon and cook until the vegetables are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the reserved clam broth and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the milk with the cream until hot but not boiling, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 tbsp butter with the flour until smooth. Whisk this paste into the chowder, 1 tsp at a time, and cook until no raw flour taste remains, about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk and cream, hot pepper sauce, worcestershire sauce, rest of the thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the reserved clams and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley or paprika. Serve with additional butter and hot pepper sauce, if desired.

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