14 November 2017

Veganizing Favorite Recipes - New England Clam Chowder

My Mom definitely gave me a challenge this week as I was to recreate a vegan-version of New England Clam Chowder.

Originally from a cooler climate, I am a chowder-fanatic. I do admittedly miss a decent chowder every once in a while, and I have yet to actually attempt to make one.  I suppose there is a first time for everything!

Here is her original recipe that she emailed to me (and please, feel free to use the non-vegan version if you are so inclined):

Vegan Version Ingredients:

(1) pack of veggie bacon strips
(2) celery ribs, chopped
(1) large onion, chopped
(2) garlic cloves, minced
(3) small potatoes, peeled and cubed
(1) cup water
(8 fl.oz.) vegetable broth
(1) non-chick'n cube
(1/4 tsp) white pepper
(1/4 tsp) dried thyme

(1/2 c) shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
(1/4 c) white wine
(1/2 tsp) celery seed
(1 tsp) vegan butter

(1 c) cauliflower, steamed
(3/4 c) nondairy milk, unsweetened
(1 tbsp) vegan butter
(1 tsp) sea salt
(1/4 tsp) pepper


Before I started on the soup, I decided to make the two most 'vegan' components of this chowder-- the cream base and the 'clams'.  I found a good recipe from Fork and Beans that outlines exactly how to do everything from start to finish.  They do everything a little bit different, and they use a different soup base.  My goal for this chowder was to keep it as close to my Mom's original recipe as possible, so I just used the components that I needed to.

For the cream base, I grabbed the ingredients:  cauliflower, soy milk, butter, sea salt, and pepper.

I steamed the cauliflower, and mixed everything together and blended it with my immersion blender.  It formed a semi-thick sauce, much like a half & half would be ... and it tasted delightful.  I am going to use this base for many more meals!

Next, I made the 'clams'.  I gathered my ingredients:  shiitake mushrooms, white wine, butter, and celery seed.

I melted the butter and sauteed the mushrooms.  I added the white wine until the mushrooms absorbed all of it and poofed up. 

When all of the wine absorbed, I added the celery seed.

Now that the 'components' are complete, it is time to start the soup.  I grabbed all of my ingredients: veggie bacon strips, celery, an onion, garlic, potatoes, vegetable broth cubes, non-chick'n cubes, white pepper, and dried thyme.

First, I got out my Dutch oven.  I crisped up a few more than the recommended (4) bacon strips because the veggie bacon is smaller in size than normal bacon.  I also added a little olive oil for more 'grease'.

I chopped up the celery, onion, and garlic as per the instructions and  sauteed them in the Dutch oven until tender.

Next, I stirred in the cubed potatoes, the water, the vegetable broth, the non-chick'n cube, pepper, and thyme, brought it to a boil, and simmered (uncovered) for 20 minutes.  I also added about 5 pieces of shredded veggie bacon for a little added flavor.

I totally omitted step number 2 because my cream base was completely smooth to start with.

Finally, I stirred in my 'clams', and served in my Dutch oven alongside the crumbled bacon and crackers.  

EDIT:  I must say, this soup was divine.  As I mentioned above, I haven't had a chowder in oh-so-long, so being able to indulge without the guilt was priceless.  The flavors were all there, the textures were on point, and everybody enjoyed it.  I couldn't ask for better results.


Anonymous said...

All of us readers would like to know how it turned out! Did you love it or was it meh?

Melissa Jackson said...

@Anon ... Oh, I am sorry! I added a small edit to the bottom of the post. I should have definitely let you know that it was delicious. I could have probably eaten the entire pot. I'm sure my husband would have been majorly disappointed if there weren't any left for him! Ha!

Darlene said...

What a great job with your vegan conversion! The chowder looks sooo delicious! Let's see what recipe we can do this week! Although it's Thanksgiving week, so I'm not sure how much I will be cooking on the other days. Great job, Melissa! Wish I could have tasted it.

Love, Mom

Melissa Jackson said...

@Darlene ... Mom, couldn't have done it without you! Ha! Seriously, you will love the base chowder recipe. Try it.

Unknown said...

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