Preparation / Directions:
* if you are using canned you can get all the clam juice and clams you need in 3 6.5 oz can of minced clams.
**depends how large and how potent, fresh you wont need as many dry go for 4
in whatever you use to cook your soup in (this recipe makes about 8 cups so make sure your pots big enough I use a Revere Stainless Steel Dutch Oven) slice bacon into small pieces and saute slowly, once bacon is crisp remove and reserve for later. Add onions and clams to fat, cook slowly till onions are translucent. Once onions are translucent add flour and stir until blended then add clam juice, potatoes, 1/2 of the bay leaves, 1/2 of the tarragon, ground pepper (about a 1 tblsp), and celery. Cover and simmer in low heat until potatoes are cooked. Once potatoes are cooked add milk, rest of bay leaves, cooked bacon, and rest of the tarragon. Cover and simmer for another 15 min. Let chowder cool some then refridgerate at least overnight, if not a whole day to ripen. Reheat, salt and pepper to taste. If your chowder isnt as thick as you would like use cornstarch or arrowroot diluted in cold water and add it to your chowder after it is hot slowly stirring in cornstarch/arrowroot mixture until it is the consistancy you like. Then you need to heat it at least a few minutes more to cook out the taste your thickening agent.
If this recipe sounds difficult it really isnt and taking the time to ripen the chowder can really make a huge, huge difference in taste. Not ripenning your chowder may have been one of your problems in the past.