Finely mince the onions, 2 carrots, 1 potato, 2 stalks celery. Chop remaining veggies into bite-sized chunks to add later.
In large pot, saute bacon, add minced veggies, & stir until cooked.
Sprinkle in flour and stir a few minutes longer.
Add some salt and pepper. If you don't want to use bacon, substitute butter.
Add water to pot to cover veggies with a few inches of water, more for a soup, less for stew. You can always adjust.
Let veggies simmer for an hour or two to make a nice stock that will be used to make the chowder. I asked Eric if you should strain the vegetables when done simmering now that they have done their job and added their flavor to the stock but he told me "they just kind of disappear and create a thick stock, especially with the addition of flour."
About an hour and half before serving, add remaining chopped veggies and clams. Let them simmer for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.
Check seasoning, this recipe can take a lot of fresh pepper and salt. Add fresh thyme if desired. If a thicker chowder is desired add some more flour-premixed with water to a slurry to avoid clumping.
When potatoes and carrots are almost tender, add fish. Allow fish to cook just below a boil, until tender, about 10 minutes. Don't overcook fish, just until it can flake. Fish can be left in large pieces and served on rice, or broken up for a traditional fish stew.
If you want a New England Chowder add cream when fish is done, but do not allow to boil once added.
Eric also likes to add shrimp to this dish with the fish.