Take two of the bottles of clam juice and condense it to VERY little on the stove top.This may take around 45 minutes.
Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com
In a large stock pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove strips of bacon and set aside. Fry the onions, celery in bacon fat until just tender. Add seasonings (not the parsley or the basil) and fry 1/2 minute. Add butter and cook until melted. Add in the flour and fry for 1 minute. Add the two bottles of clam juice and the clam juice that has been condensed. Heat until warm and thickening.
Add the cream and heat until you see small bubbles. Add potatoes, crumbled bacon, parsley, basil and clams and juice last. Take out the bay leaves before serving. The soup will be better when made the day before and reheated.