We used just two slices of smoked bacon, which adds rich flavor without a lot of extra fat; corn and carrots provide fiber and nutrients. We substituted 2% milk for heavy cream--the starch from the potatoes makes the soup extra creamy.
4 dozen clams in shells, scrubbed
2 slices smoked bacon, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1 celery rib, with leaves, chopped
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
1 large ear fresh corn, kernels removed, or 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
3/4 pound red potatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
How to Make It
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a large skillet. Add clams, cover, and steam 5 to 7 minutes or until shells open; discard any that do not. Drain clams, reserving cooking liquid. Pour cooking liquid through a fine wire-mesh sieve into a bowl, and set aside.
Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp; drain on paper towels, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in saucepan.
Sauté carrots, onion, and celery in hot drippings over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add reserved clam cooking liquid, clam juice, and next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, shuck clams and coarsely chop the meat. Whisk together milk and flour in a small bowl; add to saucepan, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. (Do not boil.) Add bacon and clams, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or just until heated through. Stir in parsley.