I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you for a couple of weeks now. As always, a busy work schedule lately has me all over the place, but not necessarily in front of the computer with an hour to spare. So, being my last Monday off for a while, I figured I might as well get myself caught up (or even, a little ahead).
At first when I tried this soup- aka devoured it within 15 minutes- I didn’t think it was share-worthy. But after having the the leftovers the following day for lunch and loving it, I thought it was a keeper. I made a pot full of this chowder one afternoon once I finished up a batch of homemade vegetable stock. Homemade stock does take some time but is well worth it- less sodium and much cheaper than the store varieties. Like my mom, I keep a bag in the freezer for any vegetable “leftovers”- the ends of carrots and celery, the greens of leeks, beet peels and really any other veggie that hit my cutting board. Once the bag is full, we make stock! Cover the frozen veggies with water, add a couple cloves of garlic, season and let it simmer for a couple of hours (until the veggies are mush). Strain and you’re ready to go!
Definitely one of those soups that get better with time, I can suggest maybe making it in the CrockPot or even over the weekend for a quick, easy meal to reheat during the week. No matter when you eat it, don’t skimp out on the oyster crackers! They make every chowder complete.
For the cashew cream:
- 1 cup cashews (soaked if you don’t have a Vitamix)
- 2 cups veggie broth
- 4 tsp cornstarch
For the soup:
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced into half-moons
- salt & pepper to taste
- 12 ounces of mushrooms, sliced thinly (it calls for a mix of shiitake and button, but use what you have on hand/in season)
- 3 ribs of celery, diced
- 2 large potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
- 1 or 2 nori sheets, finely chopped
- 3 cups of veggie broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
In your soup pot, add about a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat. Toss in the onions and carrots with a pinch of salt and cook for about ten minutes, until the carrots are softened.
Add your mushrooms and celery to the mix. Cook for only a couple of minutes- you want the mushrooms are softened but you also want them to keep their texture. (They will be the clams in the dish.) Add the potatoes, another pinch of salt, pepper, the nori, and veggie broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook your potatoes because they will turn to mush.
While the soup is simmering, time to prepare the cashew cream. Just add the ingredients into your blend and blend like crazy until you get a creamy smooth consistency. This could take 1-5 minutes depending on your machine.
Once the potatoes are perfect, stir in the cashew cream and gently heat uncovered for about 5 minutes, until nicely thickened. Add the tomato paste, lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Add parsley to garnish and load on the oyster crackers.
*Note: the nori sheets are what gives this soup it’s “seafood” flavor. I used two sheets and would probably reduce it to 1-1/2 next time just to reduce the green color of the soup. It will smell strong when first added, but don’t you worry, it’s not overwhelming in taste.
**Second note: Don’t use the juice of an entire lemon. Been there, done that.
This recipe is found in the Isa Does It cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the same cookbook that introduced me to my favorite homemade soup. If you haven’t noticed already, I’m in love with this cookbook.