Wash the clams well and place in a kettle with the water. Simmer until the shells open. Discard any clams that do not open. Drain and reserve 3 cups of the broth.
Sauté the salt pork until it is crisp and light brown. Add the onions and celery and sauté until they are translucent but not brown.
Add the potatoes, reserved clam broth, tomato juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are barely tender.
Meanwhile, remove the clams from their shells and chop fine or put through a food grinder using a medium knife.
Add the thyme and chopped clams to the potatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes longer.
Serves 10 to 12
Prep Time: 20 mins.
Cook Time: 20 mins.