Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, potatoes, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery and onion begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes to the pot and cook 2 minutes. Add the clams and their juices, 1 cup water and the bottled clam juice; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with oyster crackers.
Per serving: Calories 408; Fat 17 g (Saturated 6 g); Cholesterol 65 mg; Sodium 1,184 mg; Carbohydrate 39 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 24 g
Photograph by Justin Walker
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine