YIELD: 4 to 6 servings | PREP TIME: 20 minutes, plus time to cure | STOVETOP: 50 minutes
• 3 pounds cherrystone, quahog, or littleneck clams, well rinsed
• 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice
• 1 medium leek, white part only, cleaned and sliced into quarter-moons (about 1 cup)
• 1 cup diced shallots (about 2 large)
• ½ cup diced celery (about 2 ribs)
• Pinch of salt
• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
• ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
• ½ cup white wine
• 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cup heavy cream, full-fat coconut milk, or Cashew Cream
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1. In a large pot, bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open. Transfer the clams to a rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth to catch any sediment. Reserve the broth.
2. Once the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop them into small pieces. Set aside.
3. Rinse out the pot and return it to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot.
4. Add the leek, shallots, and celery to the pot along with a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often.
5. Add the potatoes and thyme and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add the wine. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the arrowroot starch and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
6. Pour in the reserved clam broth and add the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the clams, cream, and half of the bacon and bring just to a simmer. Set aside at room temperature for up to an hour to allow the flavors to develop.
7. To serve, reheat the soup and stir in the parsley. Garnish with additional minced parsley and the remaining bacon.
Chef’s Tip: Rather not use wine? Swap the white wine for equal parts white wine vinegar and water.
AIP Modification: Use celery root, parsnips, or turnips instead of potatoes, and use coconut milk instead of heavy cream or cashew cream.
Lower-Carb Modification: Use celery root instead of potatoes.