1/2 pound of bacon, fried and cut or torn into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp. bacon drippings, reserved from frying the bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
8 small potatoes cut up in small chunks (we leave on the peel)
1 pint fresh clams with liquor (juice) cut in small pieces
2 celery stalks, cut in small pieces
4 and 1/2 cups of water
2 - 8 oz. bottles of clam juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper
In a large pot, cook onions in bacon drippings. Add all other ingredients to pot and heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. This type of claim chowder is typical to the areas around the Chesapeake Bay and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Note that the chowder base is a broth rather than the creamy base of a New England Clam Chowder or the tomato base of a Manhattan Clam Chowder. No offense to these other traditional types of clam chowder but the broth-base really brings out the flavor of the clams; as you might expect, the fact that I live near the Chesapeake Bay has nothing to do with my preference for broth-based clam chowder.
The Skinny: It is fine to use lower fat bacon because you only need 2 tsp. of the bacon drippings. The nice thing about the broth base is that you do not have to worry about the fat and calories from milk or cream.