28 oz. diced thick cut bacon
2 qt. diced white onion
1 qt. diced celery
2 qt. red potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
4 qt. heavy cream
1/2 oz. thyme
1 bay leaf
3 oz. corn starch
1 gallon chopped clams
half and half, to taste
finely chopped chives
salt + pepper
Place diced bacon in a cold stock pot. Cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until crisp and browned.
Remove cooked bacon bits from the pot, reserving fat.
Reduce heat to low. Add onions and celery. Sweat in bacon fat until translucent ~10 minutes.
Add strained clam juice, heavy cream, thyme, and bay leaf.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/2.
Add potatoes and cook until fork-tender.
Make slurry by combining 3 oz. corn starch and 3 oz. water. Whisk until smooth, then add pot.
Add in chopped clams and bacon.
[Optional] Adjust with half and half until your desired consistency is achieved.
Season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco.
Garnish with chives.