I can't think of a better way to end a busy week than with a bowl of rich, creamy soup & lots of crunchy homemade crackers.
We decided to make a classic version of clam chowder so we went to our source for so many things, Joy of Cooking. Joy has you make your own stock from fresh clams but we've changed the recipe to make it Friday night easy by using clam stock in a box & clams in a can. I don't think we lost any flavor with these shortcuts especially since Kitchen Basic stocks are so good. We both thought the soup tasted really, really good but Matt would have liked it to be a little thicker & would have added some flour in with the butter to achieve that. I, on the other hand, thought it was just creamy enough & needed no thickening at all.
To go with the soup I made some Thyme Crackers. I used the Lavish Cracker recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice which was the Daring Bakers challenge last September. I made half a batch of the dough & added 1 T of fresh thyme to the dough as it was mixed. Once the dough was rolled out for crackers I sprinkled kosher salt on top. These crackers are really easy to make, especially if you have a mixer with a dough hook. I need to remember to make them more often we like them so much & the flavoring possibilities are endless. They were the perfect accompaniment for the chowder.
New England Clam Chowder
(adapted from Joy of Cooking)
2 strips bacon, diced
1 medium onion, peeled & chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 T fresh thyme
1 T unsalted butter
8 oz clam stock
1 large russet potato, peeled & cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c heavy cream
6.5 oz canned clams, chopped
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Cook the bacon until just beginning to crisp over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the onion, bay leaf, thyme & butter. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the clam stock & potato & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer & cook until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
Add cream & clams and simmer 5 more minutes. Stir in parsley and pepper to taste.
2 main course servings