Friday, February 1, 2013

Thick and Creamy Dairy-Free New England Clam Chowder (SCD & Paleo)

 
It's been years since my last bowl of clam chowder - years!  And oh man, I love clam chowder.  I really crave the stuff.  Lately I've been obsessing about it and I've had a recipe idea jumping around in my head for sometime now.  This week I finally brought this idea to reality and made an amazing bowl of dairy-free clam chowder that knocked my socks off.  My husband (who is native to the San Francisco/Bay Area, serious seafood lover, and clam chowder connoisseur) gave this recipe a glowing review.  He sat down to dinner, took at bite, and was very surprised by how close it tasted to the dairy laden stuff he grew up on.  And of course, he instantly declared that this was a MUST recipe for the blog.  So I'm not putting this one off.  I'm very proud of this recipe.  It's very satisfying, tastes like good-ole' clam chowder, and extremely filling.  I do hope you enjoy this one.  I'm pretty stoked about it.  
Ingredients:
-1 ¼ cups yellow onion (1 medium onion)
-2 cups carrots, peeled and small chop 
-1 cup celery, small chop 
-2 cups celery root, peeled and small chop (1 medium celery root)
-2 six ounce cans of clams, chopped up a bit* 
-1/3 cup cooked and chopped bacon (omit if you cannot find SCD/Paleo bacon) 
-1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped 
-2 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 5 hours in filtered water)
-5 cups filtered water (or broth)
-3 tablespoons clam juice
-1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 teaspoons garlic granules
-3 tablespoons olive oil (I recommend olive oil for its buttery flavor)
-Ground pepper to taste, and more salt if needed 

How To:
1.  Crisp up 4 to 5 pieces of GOOD bacon in a pan, then give it a small chop.  Set aside. 
2.  In a soup pot, add in the olive oil, onions, celery root, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute for 10 minutes on medium low.  
3.  To the onions and celery root, add in the carrots, celery, and fresh thyme and saute for 5 - 7 minutes over medium heat.  Stirring frequently.
4.  When the veggies are tender, add in the two drained cans of clams and 3 tablespoons clam juice (do not add in all the clam juice from both cans...just 3 tablespoons).  Stir clams around with the veggies.  Then add in the final 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons garlic granules, and 2 cups of water (or broth).  Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.  
5.  While the veggies and clams are gently simmering, drain the cashews and add them to a blender with 3 cups filtered water.  Blend on high for 30 seconds.  
6.  Immediately add the blended cashews to the pot with the veggies and clams. Stir and allow everything to come to a GENTLE simmer - please do not boil this mixture...it will not taste great if it burns on the bottom.  Simmer very gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, making sure the veggies and cashew cream does not stick.  I use a large wood spoon, a silicone spatula will also work great.  
7.  The mixture will greatly thicken as it heats up.  After the 5 (gentle) minute simmer, turn the mixture down to very low so the simmering stops, cover, and allow it to continue to warm for 30 minutes, stirring once in a while
8.  After 30 minutes you can serve, or turn the heat off and let the mixture sit.  
9.  When ready to serve, gently heat through, taking care to not burn the mixture.  
-Upon serving, add in some pepper to taste.  Other options include chopped crisp bacon, green onions, a lemon wedge, or chopped parsley. Serves 4

Notes:
*Serve with grain-free crackers to keep this SCD & Paleo or serve with Gluteno original crackers (these taste like those little oyster crackers typically served with New England Clam Chowder).  Grain free "cornbread" is also excellent with this soup.
*The type of clams you use will make or break this dish.  Once I used two 10-ounce cans of baby boiled clams, and I did not like how it turned out at all.  Here is what I used and really liked.  It provided a great clam flavor and overall I was very pleased with the texture and taste.  
Shared on: Fat Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Fridays, 

23 comments:

  1. gfe--gluten free easilyFebruary 1, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    This recipe makes such perfect sense for achieving the creaminess without the cream, Amber. You are a genius! Can't wait to share this with others, and to make it myself. ;-)

    xo,
    Shirley

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    1. Thanks Shirley! Ha ha...you're too kind, I don't know about genius, perhaps good ideas are born out of desperation. :-) Thanks so much for sharing. This soup is now in my weekly dinner rotation. It's so easy, and I'm not kidding about it being filling. We were stuffed after a big bowl (are we are BIG eaters over here). Oh, and big bonus...kids loved it too. Have a great weekend my friend. :-)

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  • OH YES YOU DID! Long live the queen! I've been wanting to develop a recipe just like this (you always seem to know my cravings...) I'm so glad you beat me to it girl! Now I can sit back and ENJOY! Me thinks this might get a showing on Super Bowl Sunday.

    LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!
    XO
    Jen

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    1. Oh goodie...I am the queen of something. Ha ha. Well thank you my friend. I knew you would like the recipe and yes we DO have such similar tastes in food. Let me know how this turns out for you.

      Have a great weekend.

      Hugs,
      --Am

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  • Sweet Amber,
    Wow! This recipe sounds soooooo good! It's been years since I've had clam chowder. I don't think any of our stores have celery root in stock right now, but I'm certainly going to look for it next time!!

    Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog. My ND put me on some holistic herbals that have been helping, and I am still eating grain free (I'm thinking I need to keep that up - at least for now). How have you been feeling?

    I also meant to tell you, I enjoyed seeing the pics of your house. So exciting, and I love the floors!
    Hugs,
    M

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  • Send me your address my friend and I will send you a bunch of celery root. We have it coming out of our ears over here in Cali!! :-)

    And I'm so glad you are feeling better with herbs. You are such an inspiration to me, Meg. If grain free is helping, than keep that up. I hope you continue to heal.

    And the house is coming along. It's all good.

    Have a great weekend.

    Hugs,
    --Amber

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  • Holy clam! :) This is one awesome chowder Amber! And yes it is a perfect recipe for the Super Bowl and this time of year. You did it again...another incredible recipe.

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  • Ha ha, Laura, that made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the giggle.

    Have a great weekend. Go 49ers!! :-)

    Hugs

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  • AM!

    How many does this soup serve? Taking into account we EAT ova hear. I may have a couple of guests show up later...

    Thanks friend-
    J

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    1. Hi Jen,

      It depends on how big your portions are. We have pretty big bowls for soup...so this fed 2 adults and two children (and I ate a few cups while I was making it). Hope this helps. :-)

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    2. Thank you!

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  • OH MY, MY SISTER-FRIEND! This was VERY tasty! A tasty alternative!!!! I wasn't impressed with the brand of clams I got. Do you have a particular brand you like? I might try cauliflower in place of celery root (no offense but I think it may have upset my tum-tum). This was VERY tasty, creamy and even my hubby agreed that you would NEVER know it wasn't loaded with dairy. He LOVED it!

    Another winner from that cute, skinny blogger from Cally-

    Love ya girl-
    Jen

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    1. Hi Jen,

      I've been anxious to hear from you about the soup. Thanks for your great feedback - I love your enthusiasm about food. I am SO the same way. I'm so glad your honey loved it. That's so awesome. Cashews are magical, no.

      About the clams...I will have to get back to you on the brand. It's escaping me. I usually get wild, sustainable. But I will double check that for you.

      And the celery root...very interesting it bothered you. But that's so great you're in-tune with your body, Jen. So I know potatoes are a no, no. How about trying that turnip idea you had originally? Do you think it would bother your digestion? I would give that a try before the cauliflower. But you're such a wiz in the kitchen...I am sure you will find a great alternative.

      Booo, our 49ers did not come through tonight. My poor husband is sad about his team losing. Nothing some chocolate can't fix apparently (he's such a freak-o about chocolate...he is literally drowning his sadness in chocolate right now). Ha ha - he is so funny to me.

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  • Hey Amber! I just posted a recipe review on my site for this chowder. We heated up the leftovers for lunch today. I just added some chicken stock to thin it out a bit after it sat overnight in the fridge. Kids raved. Even my one-year-old lapped it up!

    Sorry your hubby is sad. I was more interested in Downton Abbey last night. Give the man some more chocolate. I might join him from FL just for support...

    I have one question for you: HOW CAN YOU SHARE MY ENTHUSIASM FOR FOOD, BE AN AWESOME CHEF AND YET STAY SO TINY?

    I guess we all have our faults :)

    Thanks again girl-
    XO
    Jen

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  • He ate so much chocolate last night. Poor guy! So glad you enjoyed the soup, Jen! That really warms my heart.

    And please, you have no faults. And don't hate on my skinny girl!!! I have been skinny my whole life. I have incredibly high metabolism (that is a thing, and it is in fact genetic...my dad and brother are the same way). I am sort of tall (almost 5 foot 10). So it all evens out. It takes A LOT for a tall gal to look heavy anyway, and seriously, I inherited chicken legs, so any weight goes right to my stomach and arms (unfortunately, not my boobs). Having CD also makes it hard to keep on even weight. I was in a flare for months and lost weight, but now on meds I put some more meat on my bones. My daughter has my body frame- long, long legs like mama and can eat like a horse already at 6 years old! I love it. Oh, and my husband also has high metabolism (he does not exercise and eats a ton and stays trim). Let me just say, we spend a TON on food (really, it's not funny how much money we spend...I need to be better about that).

    I hope we can still share our enthusiasm for food. I've been a foodie all my life...and I won't let food restrictions stop me from eating and loving awesome food.

    Sorry I don't have a magic answer for you. I do really have genetics to thank. I've been asked all my life (like most thin people perhaps) what my secret is (because people know I love food and see how much I can eat) - it just is what it is. I've learned to embrace my skinny self and love myself for who I am (skinny chicken legs and all).

    And, by the way, I can't tell exactly from your picture, but you look super healthy to me. Not overweight at all, which makes me wonder if you are being too hard on yourself my friend. You are beautiful - and it's obvious, beautiful inside and out!

    Hugs,
    --Am

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  • Ooh I'm swooning Amber. I love a creamy clam chowder but had to give it up a few years ago...too rich and as a result..instant gut rot. BAD. This is such a good idea. Cashew cream as a base is a wonderful idea. Thank you for this lovely recipe.

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    1. Thanks France!! :-) Right! Cashews seriously rock! :-)

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  • Can you make this in a crockpot?

    Thanks!

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    1. I don't know...that's a good question. In my experience, cashew cream tends to get very thick when cooked for long periods (like really thick...like a dip). So I am going to error on the side of no due to my experience with cashew cream. But if you do and it works please let me know. Thanks.

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  • Brooke Leys-CampeauJanuary 4, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    I've been craving clam chowder and I can't wait to try this! My kids and husband love it too so if this can win them over we might be able to have a family meal again! Thanks for your hard work :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Brooke. I hope you love this soup as much as we do! This is a very fun and delicious alternative. Thanks for your sweet comment.

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