3 slices of bacon, diced
1 c. diced onion
3 c. diced potatoes
1 8-oz. bottle clam juice
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 bay leaves
2 dashes hot sauce
2 7-oz. cans minced clams
3 T. flour
1½ c. half and half
1½ c. whole milk

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the bacon drippings and sauté until softened. Add potatoes, clam juice, salt, pepper, bay leaves and hot sauce. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender; remove from heat and add clams (with their liquid). Whisk the flour into the milk and add to the chowder, then add the half and half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chowder thickens and bubbles. Remove the bay leaves prior to serving. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh chives (if desired). Serves 4.

Leanne Walling, Munising