Bread bowls aren’t just for clam chowder, they’re too happy-looking to just be for clam chowder, or any chowder for that matter. In formulating a series of dips for the Food Republic Test Kitchen, I decided to transform a beloved appetizer, stuffed mushrooms. Taking the mushrooms off the heat as soon as they release their liquid will keep the shroomy flavor intact, and frying shallots in bacon fat for a little texture and added bacon flavor is just a good idea.

If you accidentally tear through the loaf while hollowing, don’t fret. Just stuff a chunk of bread in the hole and you’ll be fine — bread’s a very forgiving medium.