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New England Clam Chowder

1 quart clam juice
3 pounds chopped clams
4 red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 pound uncooked sugar cured bacon, chopped into small pieces
8 tbsp. sweet cream butter
2 red onions diced
1/2 tbsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 cups light cream
1 1/2 half-and-half
1 cup Wondra flour
1 tbsp. salt, or salt to taste

Bring the clam juice and clams to a boil in a large soup pot. Reduce
to a simmer, add the potatoes, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. In
a large skillet fry the bacon pieces until they begin to crisp and
turn golden brown. Remove the pieces to a paper towel to drain,
leaving the fat in the pan. Add the butter to the bacon fat and
melt it over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute them until
translucent. Add the tarragon, black pepper, and garlic, stirring
for 1 minute to blend. Put lid on the pan and turn off the heat;
allow the mixture to steam for 5 minutes. When the clam broth is
ready (the potatoes should be soft enough to eat and the clams
should be tender), add the onion-herb mixture, bacon, all of the
cream plus 1 quart of the half and half. Reserve the remaining half
and half(1 pint) for the next step. Stir frequently to prevent
scorching, and bring the liquid to a slow boil. In a blender or
with a whisk, blend the remaining half & Half with the flour into
a paste (roux). When the soup comes to a boil, quickly whisk in
the flour/half & half roux. The soup will thicken quickly. When it
does, turn off the heat, and add salt to taste. It is recommended
that you serve French or sourdough bread hot from the bread machine
as accompaniment. Serves 8.

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