6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into half-tablespoon pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives or green onions
10 pounds small quahogs or large cherrystone clams, scrubbed and rinsed, open clams discarded
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
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