18 op neck clams
2 cups clam juice
2 Tablespoons butter
6 strips bacon, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large leek, diced
1 herbal sachet of: 2 cloves garlic, 1 bunch parsley stems, and 1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 red russet potatoes, diced
Juice of ½ of a lemon
½ cup mixture of chives, dill and parsley
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Scrub the clams thoroughly under cold running water and place in a large pot with one cup of water. Cover the pot and steam the clams for one minute, or just until they begin to open. Strain the liquid into a separate bowl and reserve.
Remove the cooked meat from the clams and cut into medium chunks. Cover the cut clams with the clam juice in a bowl.
Using the same pot over medium heat, add the butter and the bacon. Cook for one minute to melt the bacon fat. Add the onions, celery, and the herbal sachet. Cover the pot and sweat the vegetables for 2 minutes. Add the leeks and sweat for one minute more. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Stir in the flour to coat the vegetables, and continue cooking while stirring to cook the flour. Do not allow the flour to brown. Add the wine and cook for one minute. Carefully add the reserved clam juice, making sure not to pour in any sand that may have settled on the bottom of the bowl. Add the potatoes, and cook for five minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow the soup to rest for 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to develop. After 30 minutes, remove the sachet.
To serve: return the soup to medium heat, add the cream and bring to a simmer, then fold in the clams and herbs. Season with lemon juice, and salt and white pepper to taste.