New England Clam-less Chowder

Clam chowder used to be one of the dishes my hubby requested often, before we went vegan. I would always make a trip to the Asian market to buy fresh clams, and make a huge pot of it because we loved it so much. Obviously, a clam is not a vegetable, so it's a no-no now, which means I had to get creative. Thankfully, the Asian market has a plethora of wonderful produce that you can't always find at a normal grocery store, especially when it comes it mushrooms. I've attempted vegan "clam chowder" a handful of times, and it always ends up good, but not quite there. This time was different. I used three different types of mushrooms, and homemade cashew cream, which I think made all the difference in the world. This recipe is a little more time consuming than some of my others, but I hope you will give it a chance, because it's well worth the effort!

For the Cashew Cream:

1/4 Cup raw cashews, preferably soaked

2 Cups Water

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Process in a high-powered blender until totally smooth and white, like dairy half and half.

Set aside

For the roux:

2 Tbsp mild oil or vegan butter

2 Tbsp AP flour, or AP Gluten Free Flour

*Do NOT use whole wheat flour, it will not work.

In a saute pan, heat oil or butter over medium/high heat, once oil is hot, add flour and immediately stir using a whisk. Reduce heat to medium/low and continue to cook flour until it begins bubbling. Stir continuously, as to not burn the flour. Keep stirring until roux begins to turn light golden blond color. Reduce heat to low, and carefully and quickly stir in cashew cream until it becomes a smooth gravy-like mixture. Turn off heat, and set mixture aside for later use. If you have never made a roux before, it can be intimidating and can easily burn, so use YouTube as a tool if you need a visual aide.

Toppings:

Fresh or dried parsley and vacon bits

For the Soup:

1 Tbsp mild flavored oil, or vegan butter

1 yellow onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, diced

1 large russet potato, peeled & diced

1, 3.5 oz package of Enoki mushrooms, bottom removed/discarded, and stems finely chopped, leave heads whole

1, 5.0 oz package of seafood mushrooms, bottom removed/discarded, and stems roughly chopped, leave heads whole

2 large king trumpet mushrooms, diced to be about the size of clam meat, or slightly larger than the diced veggies

1/2 Cup mild white wine, I used chardonnay

2 quarts veggie broth, or water + vegan bouillon

1 Cup frozen corn

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Sea salt & Black Pepper to Taste

Method:

Heat oil or butter in large pot over medium/high heat

Saute onions until they begin to turn a light-golden color

Add celery and garlic, and saute until fragrant

Stir in Enoki mushrooms and cook until tender

Deglaze the pan with white wine

Add carrots, potatoes, seafood mushrooms, and king trumpet mushrooms, saute for 1 minute

Transfer pre-made roux + cream mixture into veggie mixture and stir to combine

Stir in broth and spices, allow chowder to come to a boil, and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until it has thickened and all veggies are tender

Carefully stir in frozen corn, and simmer for 5 minutes

Taste and adjust spices as needed

Top with parsley and vacon bits

**Note: Regular button mushrooms can be substituted for all the mushrooms listed, but the end product will be way less clam chowder esque, and more like a mushroom soup. The three varieties of mushrooms I've used have various flavors, and textures that are unique, and unlike our usual button mushrooms.

Enjoy! And remember, "Fish are Friends, Not Food!"

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