While living New England area for a few years we gained an appreciation for a good bowl of Clam Chowda. Our favorite recipe comes from "The New Best Recipe" cookbook p.69. This has become our traditional Christmas Eve meal accompanied by good bread/rolls. This is a quick make too which is nice for the busy holiday season.
4 Slices (about 4 oz) thick cut-bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (or 4 oz finely chopped salted pork)
1 Large Spanish Onion
2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes (about 3-4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Large Bay Leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups boiling water
2 (8 oz each) Bottles Clam Juice (Snow's brand is our fav)
4 (6.5 oz each) cans minced Clams (Snow's brand too)
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and Ground (black or white) Pepper
Fry the bacon in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir until lightly colored, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the water and clam juice (clam broth) Add the potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved minced claims, the cream, parsley, and salt (if necessary) and pepper to taste; bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Remove the pan from heat, discard the bay leaf, and serve immediately.
If we are having company we always double this recipe if it is the main course. Clam Chowder is always best when served fresh, because reheating makes the clams tough and chewy. We personally don't mind the few leftovers zapped in the microwave, only because it is nice not to have to cook every mealtime.