3 tablespoons extra-virgin
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 bay leaf
4 cups clam juice (see Tip) or
1 cup whole milk
3 cups diced white potatoes
1 16-ounce container chopped
fresh clams (plus their liquid), thawed if frozen
Chopped cooked bacon for
Snipped chives for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, 3 to 6 minutes.
Sprinkle flour, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaf over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
Add clam juice (or seafood stock) and milk; bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly.
Stir in potatoes and bring just to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
Add clams and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes.
Serve topped with bacon and chives, if desired.