For the fish lovers & the veg-heads!
Wednesday's are even BETTER with creamy chowder! Have ya ever had coconut clam chowder? If you said no, that's OK cause I didn't either, until I came up with this recipe. And I honestly don't know how I lived without it for so long! Picture your favorite classic New England clam chowder, but with a hint of coconut. Say goodbye to that unneeded dairy half & half because THIS is what. you. need. (!!)
So, back in the days when I used to eat dairy, the original version of this soup was a treat for me. It was quite heavy, and not the healthiest as it was loaded with cream, but I couldn't help my cravings. I needed it! To be honest, the first time I actually had clam chowder, was when I made it at home and tested it in my own kitchen. Basically, it always looked so so good, but anytime we went out to eat and it was on the menu, I was always restricted because it normally included bacon. Mehhh. I guess that's normal, but why not just omit it, right? But I really, REALLY wanted it when Ryan and I were in San Francisco at this 10/10 seafood restaurant, and they were known for their clam chowder. Srsly these people won awards for it. But yes, again, made with bacon (</3). So what was the first thing I did when I got back to NY? Did my research, and whipped up a batch.. piggy free. As soon as I took a bite, I was in clam love. It reminded me so much of my grandma's potato soup, and the consistency was so perfect. Just as I imagined!
This recipe I developed took a lot of research, and a ton of trial and error. Batches on batches on batches. Last week, I was craving my grandmas potato soup, and was trying to find a vegan option. And then BAM- it came to me. That clam chowder was so good, and so similar. There had to be a way to make it dairy free. And what do I love to use when I am 1.) Cooking with seafood and 2.) Need a creamer replacement... drum roll please.... COCONUT MILK! I was a little skeptical because I've never seen a soup with regular potatoes and coconut milk together, but why not give it a shot? Certainty I couldn't be the first to make this, right? WELL, here it is. My clam chowder baby. For you pescatarians that follow a veganish lifestyle, or are completely devoted to being Vegan (AND you gluten free peeps, too!). INDULGE & Enjoy! :)
I N G R E D I E N T S:
- 1 6.5 oz can of chopped clams
- 1 cup of coconut milk, divided (from a can & shaken well)
- 1/2 leek, diced well
- 1/2 onion, diced well
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 small potatoes, peeled & cubed (I use yellow potatoes)
- 3/4 cup of veggie broth
- 2 tsp of cornstarch
- 1 Tbs of vegan butter - or olive oil!
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt
- 1/4 tsp of white pepper
- 1/4 tsp of dried thyme
COOK!: Prepare all your veggies + spices, and set aside. In a large pot of medium heat, add your butter. Once hot & melted, toss in your onion and leek. Saute until translucent and soft, and then toss in your garlic. Cook for just another minute while stirring around. Now, chuck in the potatoes, veggie broth, juice from the canned clams,salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low & simmer for about 15- 20 minutes (or until tender). While that's cooking, in a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and cornstarch- mixed well to combine. Once your potatoes are tender, increase heat to medium and pour in your coconut milk cornstarch mixture. Mix well and cook for just 1-2 minutes while stirring frequently. Just need it to heat through and thicken up a bit, so you won't need to cook longer than 2 minutes. Now, toss in the chopped clams & the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 2 minutes to heat through. Serve & enjoy!
To make this dish vegan, it's simple! Omit the can of clams (duh), and add 1 small king oyster mushroom, 1/4 tsp of Kelp powder/seasoning + additional broth in it's place. I used Braggs brand Sea Kelp Delight seasoning! When sautéing the leeks & onion, toss in your finely diced king oyster mushroom. This is acting as your diced "clams". When adding the salt, pepper, and thyme, add the ground kelp! AND lastly, increase the broth to 1 1/2 cups total, since you are no longer using the clam juice. Voila- That's all there is too it :)
*Notes: Since I was doing a lot of experimenting, this recipe is enough for 2 generously large bowls (NOT the small bowls pictured) of chowder. However if you want to serve more, just double the recipe :) It's also creamy & smooth, and not "goopy" like some chowders you may have had. It's perfect!