Laura and I have been trying to make clam chowder for what seems like forever. We keep telling each other that it definitely “has to be” on the next list we make. The ingredients aren’t too extensive and there really is no reason for not preparing this wonderful soup. For some reason though, it keeps falling by the wayside.
Well, not anymore. Last night, I whipped up some really awesome tasting clam chowder. The best part is that it’s dairy free. So, for all you out there who would love to partake in some really creamy and great tasting clam chowder, but can’t, or don’t want to consume dairy, this is the recipe for you.
Laura spotted this wonderful recipe on a website called Anya’s Eats. Anya calls the dish Thick & Creamy Dairy Free Clam Chowder. I must say, it’s quite a unique soup that emphasises the word “creamy.” Part of what works so well is the pureed cashew nuts. About half way through the preparation, they’re blended up with part of the vegetable stock. Those two ingredients, combined, make for some tasty soup base. The coconut milk doesn’t hurt either. That always puts a smile on my face because it’s so pleasing and really difficult to stop eating.
This soup has a lot of texture and bulk as well. Included are chopped carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and, of course, clams. I found some local “Maine” chopped and whole clams at a local grocer and I feel pretty good about that. Any time I can purchase Maine seafood, I feel like I’m helping out all those fishermen on the shore.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Sweet Onion, Chopped
3 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
2 Cups Carrots, Peeled and Chopped
1 1/2 Cups Celery, Trimmed and Chopped
1 1/2 Large Red Potatoes, Cut into 1-Inch Pieces
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
Approximately 20 Ounces Canned Clams, Drained and Chopped (Save the Juice)
3 Tablespoons Clam Juice
1 1/2 Cups Raw Cashews, Soaked in Water For 3 Hours
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 15-Ounce Can Coconut Milk
Ground Black Pepper
For Laura’s half of this soup, I put a little twist on things. Instead of using red potatoes, I use sweet potatoes. She prefers this type of potato much more than the others and I tend to agree with her. Perhaps next time, I’ll make the entire thing with sweet potatoes.
Prep the Vegetables
The very first thing I did was to prep all the vegetables. I pulled out my nice chef’s knife and got to cutting. I peeled the carrots and chopped them up. Then, I chopped the celery and placed these two ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
Then, I went ahead and chopped the onion and cut up the potatoes.
I left the peel on the potatoes. I always do that, no matter what.
Soften the Onions & Garlic
Warm a large saucepan over medium heat. Then, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. When it’s to temperature, add the onions and the garlic to it and let cook for about 5 minutes. You can add a pinch of salt and pepper at this point too. Stir these ingredients a few times during this period.
Add Carrots, Celery & Potatoes
Next, add the carrots, celery and the potatoes to the pot. Also add in the thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and let cook for another 5 minutes. Be sure to stir a few times as well.
Add Clams & Broth
Go ahead and add the chopped clams and 2 cups of vegetable broth to the pot. Also, add the 3 tablespoons of clam juice to the pot as well and increase the heat to medium high.
Blend the Cashews & Broth
While the beginnings of the soup is heating up in the saucepan, add the cashews and the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth to a blender. Blend on medium-high for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth.
Add Cashews & Coconut to the Pot
Once the blending is finished, add the cashew mixture and the coconut milk to the saucepan and stir well.
Wait for the soup to almost come to a boil. Once that happens, lower the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes on your stove top. Stir a few times during this final step.
Divide & Serve
After the soup is finished cooking, all the vegetables should be nice and soft and the flavors should have come together. The soup is finished. You can now divide it up between some bowls and serve. You may also chop up some parsley or some fresh thyme and use as a garnish.
The Final Soup
This is so good. Since we have leftovers, we’re going to eat it for dinner again tonight. There are some perks to making a big pot of wonderful like this. Leftovers. Enjoy and thanks for reading!
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