New England style clam chowder is a classic dish, a rich and creamy potato soup with fresh clams. I was driven to start working on a vegan version after seeing it as a soup of the day at a local restaurant. This is a classic New England style chowder with a few tweaks to make it vegan. Obviously, the clams and bacon had to go but, in their place, we have oyster mushrooms for texture and ground kelp powder to give the broth a familiar seafood flavour.
The result is a warming and delicious soup perfect for a cold winter day and substantial enough to be a meal in itself. The soup is so rich and creamy, you really don’t miss any of the non-vegan ingredients. Chowder is traditionally served with crackers on the side for dipping but you could also use bread.
New England Style Vegan Chowder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 500 g russet potatoes diced
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 large piece kombu ground
- 250 g oyster mushrooms roughly chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons tamari
- salt and pepper to taste
- crackers to serve
- fresh parsley to serve
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and celery then sauté for 8 minutes or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and sauté a further 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Sprinkle over the flour then cook stirring constantly for a further 3 minutes.
- Whisk in the wine, taking care to make sure all of the flour is incorporated. Add the potatoes then allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until the wine has reduced by half.
- Add the almond milk, porcini mushrooms and kombu then thoroughly mix. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove lid and using the back of the spoon, crush the softened potatoes against the edge of the pot. Season to taste.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and tamari and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until softened and browned. Divide cooked mushrooms among serving bowls and spoon over soup base then top with fresh parsley and serve.