Wash and scrub clams under cold running water, remove any that are open or have broken shells. In a heavy duty pot, place the onions, celery, bacon, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, and the clams. Slowly cook for 10 minutes. Add white wine, and deglaze. Add flour and mix thoroughly, cook for about 10 minutes and then add the water and clam juice. After 5 minutes add the potatoes and cover the pot, and cook over medium-high heat until all of the clams have opened, about 10 minutes.
Drain clams into a strainer and reserve the liquid and vegetables in a large bowl. Once the clams are cold enough to handle, remove the meat from the shells and reserve, discarding any clams that did not open fully. Place the cleaned clams in a cup container and reserve.
Put the liquid in a large stock pot and bring to a simmer. Add the vegetables and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, the potatoes and cooked through and tender. Slowly add the heavy cream and bring back to a simmer. Reduce. Add the clams and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley.
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