1 to 1 1/2 LBS Fresh Clams ( I used Manilla but you can use what you like.)
4 1/2cups Water
3 Bay Leaves
2 Sprigs Thyme (or 2 tsp dried Thyme )
2 Pinches Salt
1 TBS Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion (Diced)
3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
3 Medium Russet Potatoes (Minced)
4cups Chicken or Vegetable stock ( or 1 32 fl oz box of stock)
5 Yukon Gold Potatoes (Cubed)
2 Medium Carrots (Diced)
1 tsp Celery Seed
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1cup Heavy Cream
1 TBS Butter
The Clams and Herb Broth
Scrub and rinse the clams, throwing away any bad clams (fresh clams should close if handled. If they remain open they have died and are bad).
Add the clams and water to a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes. All the clams should be open (if not discard them). Using a slotted spoon strain out the clams and shells, keeping the broth in the pot. Separate the clam meat from the shells, reserve the meat and return the shells to the broth. Give the clams a rough chop if they are on the bigger side and refrigerate until ready to use.
Add the bay leaves and salt to the broth and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out the solids and avoid keeping any sand that accumulated on the bottom, keep the broth.
In a large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot add in the diced onion and saute till the onion begins to soften, then add the minced garlic.
Add in the minced russet potatoes, chicken stock and the herb broth you made earlier. The potatoes should be covered. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Take an emulsion blender and blend everything until smooth. If you don't have an emulsion blender you can use a food processor or blender and blend in batches until everything is smooth.
Now add in the Yukon potatoes, carrots, clams and spices. Top it off with the water to make sure everything is covered. Allow to bubble for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and add the cream and butter.
Serve up and enjoy.
I love using my Cast Iron Pot for making soups and chowders, if keeps heat wonderfully and cooks evenly.
Also check out this Emulsion blender to still get creamy soups and chowders without washing all the blender parts.