Makes 8 servings
- 15 clams in shells (2 to 2½ pounds)
- 1 cup water
- 5 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
- 10 slices bacon
- ½ Vidalia onion, chopped
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- ½ cup skim milk
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper
Soak clams in enough water to cover for 20 minutes. Scrub shells to clean; discard soaking water. In a stockpot with cover, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add clams and steam for 10 to 15 minutes, removing the clams as they open. Discard any that do not open. Remove clams from shells, chop and set aside; discard shells.
In a large saucepan, heat clam juice over medium heat. In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp; remove and crumble bacon, reserving drippings in skillet. Add onion to skillet. Cook over medium heat until translucent. Add butter, flour and bacon. Cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes. Increase heat under clam juice to medium-high. Whisk in onion mixture. Continue stirring to ensure no lumps form. Stir in clams. Add potatoes, milk, half-and-half and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with pepper.
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