This is the recipe I use for my clam chowder that we usually have on Christmas Eve. Jim's dad likes to make oyster stew, as do some other friends, but I prefer the clam chowder. It's very easy to make, with a thick, rich, mild smokey flavor that would please any seafood lover. Feel free to tweak it to suit your tastes. I buy the big cans of clams from Costco, but you may have to buy them in smaller cans.*
Carol's Clam Chowder
1 51 oz can of clams
1 onion, diced
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 T butter
4 strips bacon, or 2 T real bacon pieces
3/4 C. flour
3 C. milk (I use half and half)
2 T chopped parsley (optional)
Open and drain clams, reserving the nectar (I rinse my clams thoroughly to get out some of the sand). Peel and dice the potatoes; cover them with cold water until you are ready to use them. Combine milk or half and half in a large bowl with the 3/4 C. flour. Use a mixer or hand blender to make a smooth mixture.
In a large kettle, cook the bacon until almost crispy; drain. Or, add diced onion and bacon pieces to kettle with the butter and cook the onions until opaque. Carefully add the clam nectar and diced potatoes; bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer potatoes for 10 minutes until they are tender.
Slowly add the milk/flour mixture, and stir until it thickens a little. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Add clams and stir just until incorporated; turn off burner. Add additional butter if you prefer, stir and serve. This chowder should turn out very thick. Add more milk to thin it if necessary.
*Try adding about 6-8 small 6 oz cans of clams if you need to substitute for size.