- Steam 4–6+ pounds of manilla clams in large container until open, in a mix of 2/3 water, 1/3 Chardonnay (about 1–2 inches of liquid) with additional chopped parsley (2 tablespoons, chopped), celery leaves (2 tablespoons, chopped), a little fresh tarragon (about 1/2 teaspoon, chopped) and fresh thyme (1 tablespoon). SAVE clam broth!
- Remove clams right after they open. Remove clams from shells.
- Add bottled clam juice (I like Snow’s of Maine), if needed, to clam broth to make one quart – if more than one quart of broth, boil it down to 1 quart. Boil 1 quart of diced potatoes in 1 quart clam broth until potatoes are nearly done.
- Dice 3 slices of bacon (best if you can get slab bacon and dice into small cubes, eyeball it to about the equivalent of 3 slices). Fry until moderately crisp.
- Cut 3 medium-sized onions into a small dice and fry in bacon fat until translucent.
- Add entire contents of pan with bacon and onions to mixture of potatoes and clam juice. Add clams and cook until tender.
- When ready, add 1 quart heavy cream, cook to boiling boil and add in 1 TBS. potato or corn starch (2 if you prefer a thicker chowder) mixed with an equal amount of melted butter and previously cooked over a high heat. Immediately remove broth from heat and stir thoroughly.
- Ladle into bowls and add small pat of butter if you like to the top of each bowl. Add pepper to taste, plus add a touch of fresh chopped chervil and thyme to each bowl. Also great served with common or oyster crackeys crushed into the broth.
- Serve right away or any time. Warmed up the next day, it tastes even better.