Well…I think it’s safe to officially say #winterhascome to MTL (and well…pretty much everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere if you’ve seen the weather in Florida the past few days). It snowed. That was removed. Then it snowed some more. That was removed too. Repeat one or two more times (I think), add in a week of -25°-ish weather (where it was colder in MTL than Mars, btw. I’m ALL for White Christmases, but I could have done without THAT experience), a day of balmy -8° with MORE f*cking snow (though not NEARLY as bad as the rest of the East Coast of North America here in MTL) and now we’re back to -30° weather. Again.
So…I guess it’s officially wooly sock and hearty soup weather (screw New Years New Diet Resolutions. It’s time to pack in the warmth). And what better hearty soup to kick off the season than the absolutely classic, Clam Chowder (pronounced ‘chowdah’ since my Boston days)? Better yet, this version is Paleo and comes with a SUPER easy recipe for Paleo-ish Oyster Crackers! So while you’re packing in the warmth, you won’t be breaking that New Diet Resolution. Is that a win? Or is that a WIN? I think WIN!
I’ve been saving this recipe to share with you guys since last winter. I got the recipe just right just as the snow was starting to melt in March, and green things were popping out of the ground. I got so distracted with spring coming (and, you know, finishing my degree and all), that I completely forgot to post it. When I realized I had forgotten about it, it was pea and asparagus season. And who the hell wants to eat food that reminds them of the dark days of winter when they can be eating foods that remind them of sunshine and daisies (and butter mellow turning stupid fat rats yellow…Anyone? Anyone? That’s right, ULTIMATE nerdy Harry Potter reference right there)!
Ahem…moving on…I actually don’t have a huge long story associated with this recipe. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.)
I had never actually tasted Clam Chowder until I moved to Boston and my friend Ashley (the same one I mentioned in my Paleo-ish Thanksgiving Bowl post) introduced me to it. Mum doesn’t make fish dishes all that often. When she does it’s a bombin’ salmon, scallop, or halibut dish (mmmmm…halibut with meyer lemon and saffron sauce…).
She also doesn’t really make soup. When she does it’s an unbelievably delicious yellow pepper or tomato soup (mmmmm…saffron and yellow peppers). (So really, mmmmm….saffron. lol). She also made a Lentil Soup thing over Christmas that initially sounded ho hum but OH. MY. GOD. Stay tuned for that recipe in the coming weeks guys. It brings soup to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL.
Newho…back to Chowdah-related things…
I don’t think I had had clams or mussels or anything else out of a shell (besides scallops) before I moved to Boston. And unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing attractive about clam chowder. It’s white, and lumpy, and Ashley would always eat it out of a progressively-soggy bread bowl; all things that essentially made it look like vomit on a spoon. #tmi?
I think the only reason I agreed to taste it was because I had tasted her Broccoli Casserole without knowing what was in it and loved it. And when you think about the staple ingredients in clam chowder (i.e. bacon, cream, potatoes, and clams) it doesn’t sound that bad. (Really, anything with bacon is pretty amazing. #amiright?)
So after about a year of watching Ashley eat either clam chowder or a VERY specific ham and cheese sandwich from Panera for lunch, I decided to give it a whirl. (And really, if I was going to have clam chowder somewhere, Boston was about the best place to taste it for the first time).
It was DELICIOUS guys!!!
I, of course, figured out an awesome recipe while I was still in Boston, but after I developed all of my intolerances, I had to come up with a new version; namely, one that has no cream, but doesn’t taste like some coconut clam curry concoction minus the curry…
That was where my Paleo Takeout cookbook by Russ Crandall of The Domestic Man came to my rescue. If you guys don’t have this cookbook, you should get it. There are SEVERAL absolutely delicious recipes in there. #notsponsored
I was flipping through his book one night trying to get ideas for what I wanted to make for lunches the following week and hit upon his Alfredo Sauce recipe where, in place of a given amount of cream, he uses a 1:1 ratio of chicken stock and full fat coconut milk. I tried it with his Alfredo sauce first to see how it tasted (slightly coconutty pasta seems oddly more palatable than slightly coconutty chowdah) and have since carried that kitchen hack over to any recipe that would normally call for cream. Bloody brilliant!
Now while Clam Chowder’s staple ingredients make it damn tasty all on their own, I of course, jazzed my version up a bit with some leeks, bay leaves, and parsley. It’s kinda like béchamel sauce meets clam chowdah, but guilt-free (apart from the bacon) and Paleo! Sounds good, eh?
Ok, time for you guys to give it a try! Dead simple Paleo Clam Chowdah (with Paleo-ish Oyster Crackers) will be on your table within the hour(-ish)!
Paleo Clam Chowder and Paleo-ish Oyster Crackers
Wooly sock and hearty soup weather has officially arrived. So what better soup to dish out and curl up on the couch with than this deliciously perfect (and Paleo) Clam Chowder with Paleo-ish Oyster Crackers?!
- Prep Time: 35 mins (15 mins for soup, 20 mins for crackers)
- Cook Time: 35 mins (20 for soup, 15 mins for crackers)
- Total Time: 1 hour, 10 mins (plus 25 for cracker cooling)
- Yield: 5 servings
| Chowder Things |
- 4 slices Bacon, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp Nutiva Butter Coconut Oil OR Coconut oil
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cup Leeks, sliced
- 3 tbsp Arrowroot starch
- 2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
- 40 oz canned Clams in juice (aka about 4 cans)
- 1/2 cup full-fat Coconut milk
- 2 sprigs fresh Thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried thyme)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 pound Potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
- Salt and Pepper
- Parsley, chopped for garnish
| Oyster Cracker Things |
- 1/3 cup Arrowroot starch
- 1/3 cup Quinoa flour
- 1/3 cup Oat flour
- 1/2 tsp Xantham Gum
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp Lard
- 2 tbsp full-fat Coconut Milk
- 3 tbsp Water, cold
| Paleo Clam Chowder |
- Cook bacon in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, over medium heat. Once cooked, remove bacon from pan and set aside. Save the fat.
- Add your Coconut/Olive oil and then cook the onions and leeks over medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the arrowroot starch and stir to distribute evenly.
- Add the stock, juice from the cans of clams (keep the clams to the side), coconut milk, thyme, bay leaves, and potatoes.
- Bring everything to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture should start to thicken) for a minute or so, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10-20 mins, or until the potatoes become fork-tender.
- (If you would like the soup thicker, then put 1-2 tbsp of arrowroot starch in a small mixing bowl, and spoon about 1/2 cup of the soup liquid into the bowl. Stir until no clumps remain and then add back to the soup pot. Bring the soup back up to a boil for a minute or so, stirring consistently, until the soup thickens).
- Add the clams and bacon, and cook until the clams are firm; about 2 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm with some chopped parsley and, of course, OYSTER CRACKERS!
| Paleo-ish Oyster Crackers |
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk until uniformly combined.
- Add the lard, and mix/mash into the dry ingredients with a fork/pastry cutter until it resembles a coarse meal.
- Add the coconut milk and water, and mix with a fork/pastry cutter/your hands until the ingredients come together. (If you’re using your hands, work quickly so that you don’t melt the lard too much).
- Quickly knead the dough into a ball, cover with saran wrap, and let it rest for 15 mins.
- On a lightly floured surface (I use more oat flour), roll out dough until it’s about 1/4″ thick.
- Cut out crackers with an apple corer, or something about 1/2″ round. Place cutouts on a baking tray. I used the round end of one of my pastry bag tips, and then used a skewer to poke the cutouts out.
- Press scraps together, re-roll, and cut. Repeat until you have no more dough left.
- Bake crackers for 15 mins, or until the edges are lightly browned.
- Turn off oven, crack the door open (I shove a wooden spatula into the door), and leave crackers in the oven to dry out for about 20 mins. Remove crackers from oven and set aside to cool completely.
| Serving Suggestion |
- Once the crackers have cooled, spoon your chowdah into a bowl, add your crackers, and garnish with some chopped parsley.
Loosely Inspired by:
| Substitution Notes |
- As I mentioned in my post, those non-Paleo, non-New-Diet-Resolution dairy-vores who would like to give this recipe a whirl with Cream can do so by replacing the Coconut milk with Heavy Cream. I guarantee you it will be just as delicious (more so, if you’re like my mother and think that Cream and Butter are the best thing since pasta). Since this recipe is a soup, I would keep the amount of chicken stock that it calls for and just do a 1 for 1 switch. Dairy-vores can also use 2 tbsp of butter instead of the lard, AS WELL AS 2 tbsp cream instead of the coconut milk in the oyster crackers.
- For those gluteni-vores who would like to use flour instead of my blend of gluten-/allergen-free flours, use 1 cup of all purpose flour in place of the arrowroot, quinoa, and oat flours as well as the xantham gum.
| Allergen Notes |
- Now, as I’ve mentioned before oat flour is technically gluten-free but, oats are often grown in fields beside wheat and can become cross-contaminated. SO…people with severe gluten intolerances/allergies may have trouble with regular oat flour if they don’t get certified gluten-free oat flour like Only Oats Pure Whole Grain Oat Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour.
- Ditto goes for Quinoa Flour and severe gluten intolerances; or just any flour for that matter. Make sure the flour you buy is certified Gluten-Free if you have a serious intolerance/allergy. Though, I’m also assuming that those who do, already know this…
- Finally, this recipe technically has a little bit of corn starch in it because as I mentioned in my Paleo-ish Chocolate Chip Cookie post, baking powder also contains corn starch. It’s not enough to give me itch bubbles, but for those who are severely allergic/intolerant to corn should add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the dry ingredients AND 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar to the wet-ish ingredients before mixing the wet and dry together. This prevents the baking soda and cream of tartar from reacting too early.
Ok…so that’s about that for this week folks! Next post will clearly be for New-Year’s-New-Diet Resolutioner’s. But it’s also easy, delicious, and something I’ve been eating for weeks just because, so I figure it’s good for every one!
Per usual, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, leave them below in the comments section, or feel free to email me! I would love to hear from you!
Ciao for now!