Method – In a pan on high heat, place the cherrystone clams in about a cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove clams immediately after opening. Separate clams from their shells and set aside. Reserve half of the cooking liquid, removing any grit or pieces of shell. In a large stockpot, fry bacon and render the fat. When bacon is crisp, remove and set aside. Cool and crumble (this will serve as an optional garnish). To the hot bacon fat, add onions and saute until translucent. Add celery and cook for an additional two minutes. Season with thyme, a little salt and pepper.
To mixture, add flour to create a roux. When celery and onion is coated with the flour, add the reserved clam juice, potatoes and water in which potatoes were soaked. Season with more pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. The liquid will be thick. When potatoes are halfway cooked, slowly pour in the milk and the half and half, whisking the hot liquid as you go. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Lower the heat to a medium-high and simmer. When soup is thickened (lightly coats the back of a spoon), add the clams and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, then serve with a little chopped parsley and the crumbled bacon from earlier. Serves 6.
Recipe from: http://www.opensourcefood.com/people/worldpeas/recipes/new-england-clam-chowder
Changes were made. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/