One of the perks of living in New Jersey is that my parents live about 10 minutes away. Why is this a perk? Well without getting too personal, they can do things like drop off extra food for us to cook! This weeks delivery was clams. I was super excited about this because I have yet to make clams in my kitchen tenure. I felt like it was a real right of passage for me. It was a cold dreary day (this spring has been more of a winter for us in NJ) so I thought soup would be a great option to have to warm us, well really me, Mike is always hot, up. This was my thought process: Clams...soup...Clam chowder! As I started exploring recipes I quickly came to find out that cream, butter, and white wine were staple ingredients. Now there is nothing WRONG with those foods, however I really try to keep my cooking as anti-inflammatory as possible. Plus, dairy doesn't do too well in our house hold...insert emoji with mask here....
I took a real leap of faith with this one because 1. I've never made clams before, 2. I've never made clam chowder before, and 3. I've never made a dairy substitute with cauliflower and Nutritional yeast. So I give my worries up to the Food Universe and dove into this recipe like the ocean.
Dairy Free New England Clam Chowder
Turkey Bacon, 3 pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced and separated
1 lb little neck clams, cleaned
1 cup chicken broth
4 cups cauliflower florets
2 TSBP nutritional yeast
2 TSBP olive oil
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
Take a 4 quart sauce pan and place about 2 inches of water in the pan. If your clams are already cleaned, add them to the water once it is at a rolling boil. Cover the pan and after a few minutes to coolest thing happens and they just open up on their own! Take them out as they open to give the others a chance to cook. If any don't open, don't eat them! Not a good one. Set the clams in a bowl and keep the water. You'll want to strain about 1 cup of the water if you can because there could be some left over dirt or sand and we don't want that in our soup!
After the clams are cooked, in a large sauce pan, cook the bacon and set aside for later. Use the bacon "grease" ti sauté the onions, 1 glove of garlic, carrots, celery and turnip until they soften. Add the chicken broth and clams to the veggies and simmer on medium low.
In a separate pan, steam your cauliflower until tender. Drain the cauliflower. If you're concerned about the liquid from the clams, you can use 1 cup of the cauliflower liquid instead. In a large blender like a Vitamix, place the cauliflower, other glove of garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, reserved liquid, sage and thyme and blend until smooth.
Add the cauliflower sauce to the clams, vegetables and broth. Mix well and continue to cook until the turnips are soft like a potato. The bacon is optional to use as a garnish or add to the soup.