3 bacon slices, preferably dry cured and smoked, diced
1 yellow onion, cut into small dice
3 celery ribs, cut into small dice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or chipotle flakes
2 potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice
2 cups half-and-half
2 cans (6.5 ounces each) chopped clams with their juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup hard-smoked salmon, broken into small pieces (see Note below)
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
-Black pepper in a mill
Fry the bacon in a heavy saucepan set over medium heat and when it is almost crispy use a slotted spoon to transfer it to absorbent paper.
Cook the onion and the celery in the bacon fat until very soft and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Season lightly with salt and add the chipotle chowder.
Add the diced potatoes, fish stock or clam juice and half-and-half and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in the clams, cream and salmon and simmer until heated through, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Taste, correct for salt, stir in the cilantro and add several turns of black pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.
Note: Hard-smoked salmon, also called hard-cooked smoked salmon, salmon jerky and squaw candy, is firm rather than oily and pliable. Use your fingers to break it into pieces.