This is a great tasting recipe (from America's Test Kitchen), though not nearly as thick as a traditional restaurant chowder. I was a bit put-off by this at first, but was afraid that adding additional thickener would alter the taste. Nobody else seemed to mind the consistency of the broth, so I never messed with the ingredients. After all, who needs the added calories?
4 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams, or the equivalent fresh clams chopped
24 ounces clam juice
4 slices bacon, minced (I admit to adding more :)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (1/2 t crushed garlic)
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 pounds (about 5 medium) red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (red potatoes don't deteriorate like russets)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream (use half and half for fewer calories)
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, and cook until the onion is soft (watch you don't burn the bacon).
Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour to coat the bacon and onion mixture. Gradually whisk in the 5 cups of clam broth. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in the clams, cream, and parsley. Return to a simmer briefly, then remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.