Monday, April 04, 2016

Mushroom "Clam Chowder"

So, supposedly it's "spring" here in the blustery Pacific Northwest, but no matter what the calendar says, it's still soup weather. And tonight, in an inspired fit of freezer-organizing, I decided to make my vegan clam chowder to use up a package of sauteed-and-frozen mushrooms I'd saved from last fall, AND make a dent in the stash of potatoes I seem to have stockpiled in my garage.

Tofu-Mom's Chowdah
(I call it that only to irritate my offspring, they tell me my accent is terrible - and it is. 
The soup's good though!!)

I wrote this down one night as I was making the recipe up, so the directions might be a bit scattered...
Follow along and it makes sense though.

1 Tbsp. margarine
1 cup chopped king oyster mushrooms (or regular white mushrooms are fine, the oyster mushrooms just have a lighter color and GREAT texture for this, and they're super cheap at Asian markets)
1 cup halved and sliced leeks
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 chopped carrots
1 tsp powdered dulse or kelp (a kind of seaweed - or use crumbled Nori)
1 tsp. smoked salt
Saute the above in a stock-pot until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Cover to steam a bit as they cook if you want, they'll cook faster.
It'll smell pretty smoky and fishy for a bit - not to fear, the finished soup is much milder!

Add these next 4 ingredients and cook at a low boil until potatoes are pretty soft - about 15+ min.

2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 bay leaf
3+ cups vegetable broth (I usually do 1/2 broth and 1/2 water)
6 med red or white or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into smallish chunks,

When potatoes are very soft, remove bay leaf, mash everything a bit with a potato masher, so there's some chunks still but the potatoes are making it a bit creamy.

Stir in these next 3 ingredients and heat on low, stirring frequently, until heated thru. About 7 - 10 minutes.

1 cup soymilk
1 cup coconut milk (the kind in a can)
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (yes, cream cheese, it works, trust me)
Season to taste.
I add a splash of Tabasco, a grind of black pepper or some fresh chopped parsley or dill.
(My kids get picky about too many green flecks floating around which is why you'll see the bowl pictured is pretty free of green...).
Serve with lots of saltine crackers.
We tend to LOVE those little round "oyster crackers".

Enjoy, and have a GREAT weekend!!