Rich and creamy clam chowder
In a large soup pot, cook bacon until nearly crispy. Add onions and celery. Continue cooking until onions are soft.
Stir in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Slowly whisk in chicken broth. Add clam juice, bay leaf, thyme and pepper. Add chopped potatoes. Cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Stir every few minutes to avoid scorching. If mixture becomes too thick, add 1/2 cup water.
Stir in clams, milk and half-n-half. Heat to a simmer. Do not bring to a boil. Taste and add salt if needed.
Serve with additional bacon bits, fresh parsley and oyster crackers.
I used red potatoes and left most of the skin on. You can peel skin if desired.
Add 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt as needed. The bacon adds a lot of saltiness and you may find no additional salt is needed.
For a thicker chowder, substitute whole milk for half-n-half.
Chowder can be made ahead of time and cooled and stored in fridge. Slowly reheat over medium low heat, stirring often to avoid scorching. If chowder has become too thick, just add a bit more half-n-half to desired consistency.