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Classic New England Clam Chowder

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  Littlenecks/6 large cherrystone clams / 2 cups canned chopped clams 12 Small
  Bacon slices 1⁄4 Pound, chopped (4 Slices)
  Thyme sprig/1 teaspoon dried thyme 2
  Onions 2 Large, roughly chopped to make 4 cups
  Celery ribs 2 , roughly chopped
  Red-skinned potatoes 1 Pound, roughly cut into 1 -inch chunks
  Butter 4 Ounce (1 Stick)
  Flour 2 Tablespoon
  Chicken stock/Water 2 Cup (32 tbs)
  Half-and-half/Cream / milk 2 Cup (32 tbs)
  Salt To Taste
  Pepper To Taste

1. Steam open the clams in a covered pot with 2 cups of water. Chop the clams finely, and strain the broth. Set aside.
2. In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until it just begins to brown. Add the thyme, onions, and celery to the rendered bacon, allowing them to cook in the bacon's oil 1 minute. Add the potatoes and butter.
3. Allow the mixture to gently stew, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes, until the onions are very soft. Stir in the flour until all lumps are dissolved.
4. Add the water and reserved clam broth. Raise to high heat, and cook until potatoes are very soft. Remove from the heat, and stir in the chopped clams and cream.

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