New England Clam Chowder

My friend Katie recently started a new blog about soup, called The Essential Spoon, and after reading the introductory post over lunchtime yesterday, I knew I wanted to make soup for supper. So I opened my Bon Appetit Cookbook, turned to chapter four on “soups, stews, and chilies,” and chose the first hot soup recipe in the section.

When I went to the grocery store in the afternoon, I found myself buying ingredients that had never been in my cart before — specifically, canned clams and clam juice. On the menu: New England Clam Chowder. Tim and I both enjoy it, and I’m always up for trying a new recipe.

The results were tasty, but the process was frustrating for two reasons. For starters, I should have had all of my ingredients ready (i.e. chopped) before I began cooking. But more significantly, it seemed to me that the recipe was not written in the ideal sequence. I suppose it’s mostly my fault for not reading it more carefully and thinking it all through in advance, but I like to think that a good recipe can be followed in the order it is written.

Basically, there are two cooking processes going on simultaneously in two different kettles. The first one mentioned in the recipe (cooking the potatoes in clam juice) doesn’t take as long as the second one (frying the bacon and sauteeing the chopped veggies), so in hindsight, I should have started the bacon and THEN started the potatoes. In the end, the only real “problem” was that the recipe took longer to make than would have been necessary, and both frustrations can be easily avoided next time around.

The full recipe (available here at Epicurious) is supposed to serve four as a main course, but I made a half recipe and still ended up with three good servings. Also, the soup wasn’t quite as thick and creamy as I hoped, but Tim and I both liked it. It was especially good with a nice chunk of crusty French bread from Amoroso’s (via our local grocery store).

So… would I make this soup again? Absolutely.

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