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Cover the bottom of a large steamer pot with water and bring it just to a boil. Add the clams and simmer, covering the pot. The clams will open in several minutes. Remove each clam just as soon as it opens, discarding any that don't open. Reserve the clam juice in the pot. Remove the clams from their shells and dice them coarsely. Remove any black necks or intestines from the clams. Reserve the clams.
Meanwhile, wash the potatoes and dice them into small cubes. Place them in a pot and add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Salt the water lightly and cook the potatoes until tender.
Add 2 cups of the cream to the chopped onions in the saucepan and return it to a low heat. Stir, and then add the combined clam juice and potato water. Add the cornstarch to the remaining 1 cup cream and stir until it is totally dissolved. Then add this mixture gradually to the onions, raising the heat and stirring constantly. Add the combined clam, potato and corn mixture to the same saucepan and continue to stir until the chowder is nicely thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. If using, serve with oyster or common crackers.