Sauté chopped bacon in fry pan until crispy. Cut the bacon into small quarters or strips. Trim off the excess fat prior to frying. Reserve the bacon grease for later to make the roux. Add chopped onion and celery, continue to sauté until begins to brown.
Add crushed and pressed garlic, ground pepper, fresh thyme, and chicken stock. Transfer to crock pot for a richer flavor or large stock pot for a quicker dinner. Add clam juice plus two small bottles of clam juice, and sherry. Refrigerate the remaining clams until ready to add at the end. Meanwhile, stir the chowder occasionally on a slow simmer.
Cut the potatoes into three different sizes; tiny, small and medium. For the small dice, cut the potatoes into quarters length wise and then into strips. The align and cut into smaller pieces. For small, quarter first then half each quarter again. Then align and cut into square pieces. For medium, quarter and align to cut into similar sized pieces. This allows for the very small pieces to disappear into the stock and thicken it. Then you have smaller and medium sizes left that do not over power the clams.
Cover and let cook 15-20 minutes in stock pot until potatoes are tender. If using a crockpot, you can put the pot on high and let the potatoes cook for 4 or more hours. This allows you to simmer and slow cook for a richer flavor. For either method, stir occasionally so potatoes won't stick or burn to the bottom of pan. Add cream and milk gradually and stirring as you add.
In a separate small sauté pan; melt butter and mix flour with it to make a roux. Allow to brown a little but watch it so as it doesn't burn or clump.
Once the chowder is just beginning to come to a slow boil, stir in the roux and let it slightly thicken the chowder. Continue to add until you've reached your desired consistency. If using the crockpot use the same concept but it will thicken more slowly. If the chowder becomes too thick, just add more milk.
Turn the heat down to very low for the stock pot and let it just set and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Add the clams 10 minutes prior to serving. If using crockpot, turn to a low heat. After 30 minutes change to warm. Depending on when you are serving. turn back to high for 15 minutes and add the clams.
Try to find a good quality clam if canned. Baby clams can be minced (I don't like these) or will be try small baby clams (yummy). Only add the clams just before serving so they do not get rubbery.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (260g)|
|Recipe Makes: 30 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 193 (56%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 21.5g||29 %|
|Saturated Fat 11.2g||56 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 7.2g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 1.4g|
|Cholesterol 60.8mg||19 %|
|Sodium 217.4mg||7 %|
|Potassium 781.1mg||21 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 32.1g||9 %|
|Dietary Fiber 2.6g||10 %|
|Sugars, other 29.5g|
|Protein 6.8g||10 %|
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Calories per serving: 344
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