For the most part, all the recipes in this project are going to be recipes I haven't tried before. There were only a few things that I had tried out of The Farmers' Cookbook, although what I had cooked immediately became tried-and-true favorites (like the herbed biscuits, which I make at any conceivable occasion where biscuits might be appropriate).
There are a few recipes, though, that I loved so much I let myself cheat and add them to the list.
The New England Clam Chowder is one of those recipes.
Winter is the perfect time for soup, really. We're not "cold soup" people (Jason refers to gazpacho as 'really good dip') and so we do most of our soup-cooking in the winter, when it's chilly enough that it seems absolutely perfect for it. Which is why I decided to cook the clam chowder a day earlier than I had originally planned.
I've made this soup before, I won't lie.
While it does use more than one pan, it's actually incredibly easy to throw together, very very quick, and a meal in and of itself. At most I'd serve it with soup crackers and a salad. Mostly we just eat it by itself.
This is probably better in a place where clams are fresh or something, but the canned clams for this recipe are absolutely delicious, so pfffft.
Ingredients - Amounts Omitted
chopped clams in broth
bacon or salt pork, diced
diced raw potatoes
Easy ingredients to have on hand, right? Basically all you have to get are bacon, clams, and maybe potatoes if you don't keep those around.
First off, go ahead and drain your clams, but keep the broth in a bowl off to the side. I suppose you could choose to use chicken broth and not the clam broth, but then you'd have really sad, pointless soup. So use the broth. It is delightfully clammy.
(This whole recipe is just my excuse to use 'clammy' in a sentence).
Use a heavy pan and cook your onions with your bacon or salt pork. We just used some random bacon that was on sale at Publix, it doesn't have to be fancy or anything. I feel like if you're buying bacon to be fancy, you're doing something wrong.
Cook until the onions are tender and have gone mostly translucent. Add diced potatoes, salt, pepper, and the clam broth. Use enough water to just cover the potatoes, if the clam broth doesn't do it. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are cooked through. The book says this takes like 8 minutes, but I felt like it really took closer to 10 or 12 for us. But then I had my potatoes diced pretty big, so just check to see if they're soft.
While your soup is cooking, melt butter in a separate, small saucepan. Add flour and stir until smooth, and cook for just a minute. Pour in your milk all at once, whisking mixture until it comes to a boil.
Combine your hot milk with the rest of your soup, and add in your clams (remember them?) and parsley flakes. Stir very well.
Heat the chowder just enough to combine flavors and make sure the clams are hot, but not so long they get rough and chewy. It only took a couple of minutes, for us, before it was done.
One thing we did was not salt when the recipe tells you to. I reserve salting foods until closer to the end of preparation almost always, because Jason and I don't really eat much salt and so we're pretty sensitive to it. Basically any amount of salt a recipe is calls for is almost always too much for us. I felt like, with the bacon, salt could have been added very sparsely and been fine.
The soup was delicious! I bought some whole wheat mountain bread from Publix and we ate the soup with big hunks of that, but normally I'd go with soup crackers. I'm debating next time having some of my homemade bread from earlier in the project. I've got the flour and the yeast, so really I'm only like four hours and a lot of patience away from having bread already!
I would say this soup served about four, like the book says. Normally I find her serving sizes a little on the small side, but this worked perfectly. Don't plan for leftovers unless you double the recipe, though.
This is a great winter soup, perfect for the chilliest days. It was incredibly warming, and you seriously cannot go wrong with bacon.
Although I've never had salt pork before...
P.S. Links to the Farmers Cookbook in these project posts will be affiliate links. This means that if you click through and purchase, I may receive a small commission for helping you realize how awesome this cookbook is. Please rest assured that any and all commission monies will be spent buying me more books.