New England-Style Chowder
Growing up in New England, clam chowder was always a summer staple in my family. When I stopped eating dairy and most animal products, I thought the days of chowder were behind me. Until now!
This recipe retains the thick, yummy base that chowder is known for but accomplishes this with a thick cashew cream that is surprisingly satisfying. It also has lots of potatoes and caramelized onions so it's full of wonderful taste surprises along the way. The secret ingredient here is Old Bay® Seasoning, which is one of the flavors that gives this it's New England-y taste.
Makes about 10 servings
Time: 2 hours, including the time to caramelize the onions
4 large sweet onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves (optional)
2+ sprigs of thyme, preferable fresh
2 large peeled russet potatoes or 3-4 yellow potatoes, diced
8 cups of vegetable broth or Medical Medium® Healing Broth, divided
1 cup of raw cashews
1-2 T fresh lemon juice
2T potato starch
1 1/2 - 2 tsp of Old Bay® Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Gluten-free crackers, if desired.
Sauté the onions: Place the sliced onions and 1/4 cup of water in a large soup pot on medium-to-high heat to sauté. Stir constantly. Sauté until translucent. Add more water and/or reduce heat, if needed. Takes 5-7 minutes.
Caramelize the onions: Lower the heat to medium-to-low and cook until fully caramelized. Stir every 5 minutes or so, while scraping the bottom of the pot. This will take 40-60 minutes. They are done when they are brown and creamy, but not burnt.
After the onions have been caramelized, add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, potatoes, and 1 cup of water and cook on medium-to-high until the water has been absorbed. Stir occasionally, while also scraping the bottom of the pot. Takes ~10 mins.
While that is cooking, make the cashew cream. Add the cashews to a high-speed blender with 1 cup of vegetable broth, the lemon juice. Blend on high until completely smooth. Will take about 1 minute or so (don't skimp here, you want it silky smooth).
Add the potato starch to the pot and stir it well with the onions and potatoes. Then add the remaining 7 cups of vegetable broth and the cashew cream from the blender. Stir.
Simmer on medium-to-low until the potatoes are fully cooked, which will take about 20 minutes. Then add the Old Bay® Seasoning and the salt and pepper to taste, if using.
Caramelizing onions takes rather a long time. One alternative is to make half a batch of the soup and the caramelization process won't take as long with only 2 onions. The other, which is my preferred option, is that I make a HUGE pot of caramelized onions at a time when I'm going to be in the kitchen anyway and then freeze servings of the onions (1.5 - 2 cups each) to use later for half servings of the soup.
If you don't want to use the pre-packaged Old Bay® Seasoning, there are plenty of recipes online you can use to make your own. It includes paprika, pepper, and celery salt, plus small amounts of other spices like ginger and cardamom.