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New England (No-)Clam Vegan Chowder
The craving for soup, commencing as soon as the temperature starts edging toward the freezing mark, is so universal that it must be coded somewhere in our DNA. This is actually a good time of year for vegans, because soup is one craving that is relatively easy to satisfy. This recipe was inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie's alfredo sauce. I know, making an alfredo sauce into a soup sounds a little strange, but hear me out. I was reading her recipe, thinking about how brilliant it was to use pureed cauliflower both as a thickener and as a source of nutritional substance, when it occurred to me that if I made more of it, it might very well pass for chowder. I tried it, and I liked it.
And what's not to like? The thickener is a head of cauliflower with all of its cruciferous goodness. Add to that a bunch of cheesy-flavoured protein in the form of nutritional yeast and still more protein in the soy milk, and you've got a very nice healthy base to start with. Said base is a delivery vehicle for tender chunks of carrots and potatoes, with a healthy sprinkling of corn. It satisfies the weather-induced need for rib-stickiness and at the same time gives your body lots of nutritional goodies to work with.
3 Tbl olive oil
5 cloves garlic minced with 1/4 tsp salt
500 g (1 head) cauliflower florets
4 cups soy milk
1 tsp salt
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 medium carrots, chopped in small pieces
350 g new potatoes (or regular white potatoes), chopped into small chunks
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
Clean and chop the vegetables. Mince the garlic with 1/4 tsp salt.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot with a lid on medium heat. Add the garlic and fry a couple of minutes until aromatic. Add the cauliflower, soy milk and nutritional yeast and mix well.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring almost constantly. After boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Using a collander with a large bowl underneath, strain cauliflower and reserve liquid. Transfer reserved liquid to a large measuring cup or other vessel with a lip.
Put cauliflower in a blender and liquify. With blender still running, slowly add liquid through top to make a very smooth chowder base. Or if you have an immersion blender, you can do the whole thing in the pot.
Return chowder to pot and bring up to simmer and add 1 tsp salt.
Add potatoes and simmer covered 15 minutes. The chowder will thicken substantially while the potatoes cook—it may be necessary to add a cup of water to thin it out a bit.
Add carrots and simmer until vegetables are very tender, approximately 30 minutes.
Add corn and simmer 10 minutes.
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Posted: Monday, November 3, 2014