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Place clams in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 6–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove clams from pot and discard any that have not opened. Strain liquid through a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Remove clams from shells and coarsely chop; set aside.
In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until fat is rendered but bacon is still soft. Add pepper, onion and celery. Cook and stir 7–8 minutes or until vegetables are just tender-crisp. Add potato and garlic and cook 5 minutes more.
Sprinkle flour over the potato mixture and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, whisking until there are no lumps. Whisk in white wine and cream. Add thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for 12–15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Stir in tomatoes, shrimp and cooked clams. Return to a simmer and cook 1–2 minutes or until heated through. Remove thyme and bay leaf.
Serve with oyster crackers and bread.