Tal Ronnen‘s cashew cream is one of my favorite vegan ingredients. Similar to heavy cream, cashew cream is rich, fatty and full of flavor. I love using it in soups because it blends so nicely and the flavor works well with any kind of broth. I’ve combined the cream here in a hearty vegan chowder, packed with tons of dried oyster mushrooms and fresh king oyster stems. To infuse a rich smokiness into the broth, I melted down some raw virgin coconut oil and added a bit of liquid smoke and soy sauce. I really enjoyed making this on a late Sunday afternoon, developing the flavors and just enjoying the process before having this as a fabulous dinner that night.
VEGAN CLAM CHOWDER
Yield 6-8 servings
- 2 cups of raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 3 1/2 cups red potatoes, diced with skin left on
- 2 cups dried oyster mushrooms
- 2 TB raw coconut oil
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 cups white onion, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp fresh black cracked pepper
- 1/2 TB salt
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 TB mirin
- 9 cups fresh homemade stock, with a Not-chick’n bouillon cube thrown in
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup oyster mushroom stems, sliced into scallop-sized pieces (optional)
- earth balance
- olive oil
- dried parsley
- Make the cashew cream by placing the cashews in a blender. Add enough water so it slightly just covers the cashews. Blend for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
- Boil the diced potatoes in plenty of water until softened, but still al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 cups of the stock in a small saucepan. Turn off the heat and add the mushrooms. Place a lid on top and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside with the potatoes.
- In a large stockpot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the liquid smoke, soy sauce and onion. Saute for about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Add in the thyme, pepper and salt. Add in the flour, stirring briskly to avoid scorching. Add in the mirin to deglaze the pot.
- Add in the 7 cups of remaining stock and bay leaf. Bring the stock to a boil and then immediately turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Test the stock and add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Add to the pot the cashew cream, potatoes, mushroom pieces and cashew cream. Simmer for just a few minutes more. If you’d like to top the soup with some mushroom scallops, toss them in some melted earth balance and dried parsley and saute for a few minutes, until they are slightly toasted around the edges.
- Serve with oyster crackers or biscuits.