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Last week’s cold was jarring. Yes, it’s February. Yes, it’s Wyoming. And yes, it’s winter.

Still, -20 in the morning is cold. The highway looked like a graveyard for diesels, big, ol’ powerful pickups gelled up and abandoned.

The dog refused to leave the patio door.

The girl truck refused to start.

It was cold.

So one of the answers, in addition to a ticket to palm trees as quickly as humanly possible, is soup.

There are people who eat soup all during Lent, and then revel in the taste of meat on Easter Sunday.

There are people who entertain with soup, brewing large kettles on the stove top and inviting guests to ladle in. Big loaves of great bread and crackers are the only accompaniment needed.

Soup is a marvelous thing, especially when it’s so cold the water in the large jugs kept in the garage freezes. Now if I could just find some electric socks to wear under the electric blanket, things would be perfect.

Here are a church supper-sized recipe perfect for Friday sharing at the parish and a smaller, family-sized recipe for any other night of the week.

Tip: If you want to make either of these ahead of time and freeze, leave out the milk. Then, when ready to serve, add milk to thawed soup before heating.

Clam Chowder for a Crowd

10 quarts water

3 tablespoons salt

8 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 large onions, chopped

1 cup butter, cubed

4 large carrots, grated

16 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) minced/chopped clams

3 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

1 to 2 tablespoons pepper

2 pounds bacon, cooked and crumbled *(optional)

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  • *Leave bacon out if serving on Friday during Lent.
  • In several large kettles, bring water and salt to a boil. Add potatoes, cook until tender (do not drain). In another pan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add onions and carrots to potato mixture; heat through.
  • Drain clams if desired. Stir the clams, milk, parsley and pepper into vegetable mixture until heated through. Just before serving, stir in bacon if using. Makes about 15 quarts, 60 to 65 servings.

Beef and Bacon Chowder

1 pound ground beef

2 cups chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 cups milk

3 cups cubed peeled potatoes, cooked

2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

2 cups chopped carrots, cooked

Salt and pepper to taste

12 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  • In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, cook beef, celery and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain. Add the milk, potatoes, soup, carrots, salt and pepper; heat through. Stir in the bacon just before serving. Makes 3 quarts, about 12 servings.
  • (Recipes from “America’s Best Church Supper Recipes”)

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS


Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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