I only made a few minor changes.
This recipe takes a little advanced planning but it is TOTALLY worth it!
Now go out and buy some clams!!
5 pounds small clams
3 cups water
4 oz salt pork - diced
2 TBL butter
1 large onion - diced
2 celery stalks - diced
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme - leaves removed and chopped (about 1 tsp)
2 bay leaves
1.5 pounds potatoes - diced (I used mini Yukon Gold)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper
Fill two large pots (or two sinks) with cold water. Place the clams in one pot of water, discarding any dead ones or clams with cracked shells. Gently move them around in the water and let them soak for a few minutes, then lift them out and place them in the other pot of cold water. Rinse the first pot and fill it again. Move the clams around again, then transfer them back to the clean pot. Continue to switch the clams back and forth, letting them soak for a few minutes each time, and then lifting them out of the pot, until the water remains crystal clear. The process should take four or five soakings.
**Note if you buy your clams fresh in water this process doesn't take as long as if you plucked them from the ground yourself.
Put the 3 cups water in an 8-quart pot, cover, and bring to a rolling boil. Quickly but gently place the clams in the pot and cover again. After 4 minutes,remove the lid and quickly stir the clams with a wooden spoon, trying to lift some of the clams from the bottom to the top so they will cook evenly. Cover and continue to steam for another 4 to 5 minutes. (The broth will most likely overflow just as the clams have finished cooking.) All the clams should be open; if not, steam
them a minute or two longer. Remove the clams and strain the broth; you should have 4 cups.
Add the butter, onion, celery, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot and sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
Add the potatoes and the reserved clam broth. The broth should just barely cover the potatoes; if it doesn't, add enough water to cover them. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, cover, and cook the potatoes vigorously for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft on the outside but still firm in the center. If the broth hasn't thickened lightly, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot and cook a minute or two longer to release the starch.