Clam Chowder - New England Style

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3 6.5 oz. cans chopped/minced clams in clam juice
1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
6 thick center-cut bacon strips chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 stalks celery finely chopped
1 large onion chopped
1 1/4 pounds 3 1/2 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-1/2” cubes
3-5 garlic cloves minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried oregano and salt
1/4 tsp EACH dried thyme and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Oyster crackers
Fresh parsley


  1. Drain clam juice from cans into a measuring cup. Add enough bottled clam juice to equal 2 1/2 cups. Set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered and slightly brown. Remove half of the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. To the remaining bacon and drippings, melt in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.
  3. Increase heat to medium high and add celery and onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions are soft. Add potatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook an additional 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, reserved 2 ½ cups clam juice, chicken bouillon, bay leaves and all seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
  4. Stir in heavy cream and bring to a simmer to heat through. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and stir in clams. Taste and add salt/pepper to taste. (You may or may not need additional salt depending on how salty your clams and bacon are.) For a thinner or less chunky soup stir in additional heavy cream/milk or chicken broth.
  5. Top individual servings with reserved bacon and oyster crackers and fresh parsley if desired.