Love the Tomato's,
Easy and awesome. No fresh clams no big deal, canned work, but don't overlook your local asian market frozen section (usually big guys found in Japanese frozen sections).
Big pot.All good things start with a quarter pound of bacon(and strain). Hold onto bacon after you get grease, some like my Gramp's like it as a garnish at the end.
Celery, onion(white), shallots, garlic, white pepper(fresh ground if you have it), carrots,cook in the bacon grease until cooked down. No exact amounts in my cooking because on any given day I can cook for 20-120 people. E-mail me if you want the specific's.
After it is cooked down add a little butter, olive oil, fennel, green onion and/or chive. Leaks, I like a lot. Crushed fresh tomato's or canned will do nicely. simmer on low heat again until cooked down.
Add a few cups of chicken stock for the natural salt flavor..
Add your clam broth and now is a good time to add your non-fresh seasoning. I like a little heat so I add a very fine dice of assorted peppers. Cerrano chili's never killed anyone, but again a very fine dice and a small amount.
We all know fresh clams are the best, but when in Rome. If you find some nice big ones have at it. Steam and dice. I have a friend who also boils shells before hand for clam broth, I find there to be too much sand grains when done this way, but toy with it if you will.
Dice clams and add a little extra canned for that extra love if you like it is good. Another little secret is get the clams and the canned clams ina sauce pan with your heat and saute for a few moments then disgard the peppers and add to chowder for that extra burn.
Just remember and I am sorry I got ahead of myself, those fresh clams only need to go into the chowder about the last hour to 45 minutes of the the final simmering process.
Must have oyster crackers and as I said my Gramp who has been making this stuff for 60plus yrs. likes a little bacon as a garnish at the end. Mom likes a little chive, dill, and a little pad of butter..
Hope you enjoy. Old family recipe that's also why I was not so specific.