Paleo New England Clam Chowder

We went to Chowderfest in Saratoga a few weeks ago and I’ve had a hankering for chowder ever since. I have to admit, I did indulge a bit while I was there, all for inspiration of course;) I’d love to say everything went great and I felt fabulous afterwords but that wasn’t the case. I would get excited when I saw a vegan or gluten free chowder, but knew the likelihood of it being free of everything I try to avoid was slim to none. I’ve been so disappointed lately of the restaurants not having JUST what I’m looking for. Oh well I guess I’ll just have to open up my own:)

Okay so now for the happy ending…my newest creation that is LIFE CHANGING. Okay not life changing, but it’s opening me up to a whole new world that I can thank a nut for. I’ve always been intimidated to make my own “cashew cream” and often steered clear of recipes that used them. I decided to take a risk and make this paleo chowder and give it a whirl. I not only loved how the chowder turned out but want to put cashew cream in EVERYTHING. Don’t be intimated like I was and neglect to step out of the box for so long. I’ve got a few tips for you to make sure yours turns out just as good as mine did. I dare you to invite over your friends and family and see if they can tell a difference. Trust me, I’ve tasted a lot of chowder lately! Being pregnant, I have definitely indulged much more than I have in the past few years, but I always end up paying for it. It was such a relief to make something so delicious and savory and healthy! …and for it to be a comfort food perfect for these cold winter days. This is such a fun recipe to make and it will have your chowder on the table in an hour tops.
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Serves: 4-6 people
Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews
1 1/4 cup water divided
3-6.5 ounces chopped clams and their juice ( be careful of hidden ingredients and buy just clams in their juices)
3 cups seafood stock ( again…be careful of what else may be lurking in this! I found a great one at Whole Foods by the brand Imagine)
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 lb red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Boil 3/4 cup of water. In a small bowl, place cashews and boiling water to soak. Set aside for later.
2. In a large sauce pan, place prepared celery, carrots, and onion along with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes to soften. Add salt and pepper.
3. Add the juice from the clams, seafood stock, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 10-12 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the cashew cream. Drain cashews and place in a blender with 1/2 cup of fresh water. Blend for 1-2 minutes or until the cashews are completely creamy.
5. In a small bowl, place tapioca starch. Add 1 cup of the chowder broth to the bowl. Mix completely until smooth (I did this in the blender to be sure there was no clumps at all).
6. Add the cashew cream, tapioca combined with broth, and clams into the saucepan. Remove bay leaves. Simmer until warm throughout, about 3-4 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper as desired. Top with fresh parsley or crispy bacon. Enjoy:)

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