I have been waiting for winter weather for three years.
Now that we’re back in Boston, I go outside on 30-something degree days, just so I can breathe in the cold air and feel it on my skin. I’ve pulled out my long-forgotten and new-feeling sweaters, and love wrapping them around me. I love the banging of the radiators coming on, and it’s a fair trade-off to have the skin crack around my knuckles as I slather on layer upon layer of lotion, and wrap them around steaming mugs of tea or black coffee. Nimrod is constantly seeking a hot spot, and I love tucking blankets around her and watch her melt into them as she drifts off to sleep, reminding me she’s there with her faint wheezing or a low growl from a kitty nightmare.
The other day as I was flipping through my massive stacks of Food and Wine and Bon Appétit magazines, looking for food inspiration to complement the brisk weather outside, I came across Bon Appétit‘s New England Clam Chowder recipe and thought: what could be better than that right now?
Soy curls and mushrooms work together to create a clammy element, while firm Yukon golds provide a heartiness and textural contrast. Cashew cream adds a supreme richness and velvety quality that clings to the spoon (or crackers or bread) and sticks to your ribs.
Serve with oyster crackers, warmed sourdough or fresh-baked biscuits. Bisquick-based or these olive oil biscuits from scratch.
New England Vegan Chowder
Yield 4 servings
Inspired by and veganized from Bon Appétit.
for the cashew cream
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in plenty of water overnight, then drained
- 1/2 cup water
- couple dashes of coconut or apple cider vinegar (optional)
for the "clams"
- 1 TB Earth Balance
- 10-12 oz white, brown or oyster mushrooms, destemmed and chopped
- 1 cup Butler Soy Curls
- 1/2 sheet crumbled nori
- 1 TB olive oil
for the broth
- 1-2 TB Earth Balance or refined coconut oil
- 4 strips of tempeh or vegan bacon (I used Sweet Earth's Benevolent Bacon), chopped
- several dashes of liquid smoke
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups No-Chicken, mushroom or vegetable stock
- 2 cups peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 TB cornstarch, blended with 2 TB water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- oyster crackers
- fresh biscuits
- fresh thyme, chopped
to make the cashew cream
- Using a high-speed or immersion blender, blend the cashews and liquid together until velvety smooth. Add in a couple dashes of vinegar to counteract the sweetness of the cashews, if desired. Set aside.
to prepare the clams
- Melt the plant-based butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened, turning down the heat a bit if needed. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the soy curls and nori to the pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat, but leave on the burner for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil, then the soy curls. Allow to saute, stirring occasionally, until slightly dried out and slightly golden around the edges. Combine with the reserved mushrooms to the side.
to prepare the broth
- Using the same pot, melt 1 TB of the butter or oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped vegan bacon, and allow to saute for a couple of minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add a few dashes of the liquid smoke.
- Add the celery, onion and garlic to the pot, increase the heat back to medium and stir. After a minute, add in the remaining 1 TB of plant-based butter or a few splashes of broth as needed to reduce sticking. Allow to cook for several minutes, until the onion is soft.
- Sprinkle in the thyme, add the bay leaf. Add the stock and potatoes. Allow to come to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are done.
- Bring back to a boil, stir in the cornstarch slurry, and stir until slightly thickened.
- Stir in the reserved cashew cream and mushrooms+soy curls. Heat through, adding in salt and pepper, and a few dashes of liquid smoke if desired, to taste.