A scallop chowder is a great alternative to the ubiquitous clam chowder. Wild mushrooms complement scallops really well in both texture and flavor. Chives add the perfect finishing touch.
In a heavy bottom stock pot, render fat from bacon over very low heat for about 5-7 minutes. When a few TBSPs renders out, raise heat to medium and brown the bacon slightly. Remove the bacon but leave the rendered fat in the pot. Reserve bacon and chop into bacon bits.
If you don't get enough fat to render out, add 1-2 TBSPs butter to the bacon fat.
Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and saute for 7 to 10 minutes until cooked through. Add 1-2 more TBSPs of butter, if necessary.
To thicken the chowder slightly, in a separate pot, make a roux. Melt 3 TBSPs butter over medium heat, add 3 TBSPs flour and whisk together for several minutes, until thickened and smooth. Drizzle this into the soup while the potatoes are cooking but do it well before the potatoes are cooked through. Stir constantly, to thicken slightly. This is a totally optional step!