- 4 bacon slices, cut into ¼-inch batons
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, ¼-inch dice
- 1 small carrot, ¼-inch dice
- 2 celery stalks, ¼-inch dice
- 3 gloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon thyme, crumbled
- One 28 ½-ounces can whole plum tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
- Five 8-ounce bottles clam juice
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
- Three 6-ounce cans chopped clams, with juice
- Black pepper, to taste
Fry bacon and bay leaf in heavy 6 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Drain off most of the fat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and thyme and cook until the onion is tender,
stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Crush each tomato by hand into the vegetable mixture and add the juices from the can. Add the clam juice and diced potato to the pot. Simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes. Add the clams with juices and heat through. Season your chowder to taste with pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve.