Friday, December 27, 2013

Creamless cauliflower clam chowder with bacon and leeks

When it's cold out, I can't get enough soup. It's pretty much all I want to eat. New England clam chowder is tasty and filling with a nice hit of protein from the clams. However, I wanted to do one better and make it without all the cream and potatoes. I recently made a pureed cauliflower soup and wondered if it could be used as the base of a cream soup instead of dairy. It worked splendidly and required no additional starch thickeners. I also added some leeks and crispy bacon for a flavor boost (I found sugar-free bacon at the farmer's market!). I served it with some nori crisps in lieu of oyster crackers, and it made for a totally satisfying meal.

CREAMLESS CAULIFLOWER CLAM CHOWDER WITH BACON AND LEEKS
Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS
  • Four 6.5 oz cans of chopped or baby clams packed in clam juice (not packed in water)
  • 16 oz bottled clam juice
  • 1.5 cups chopped leeks
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 1.25 lbs), cut into florets
  • Four slices thick-cut bacon, chopped into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbs fresh minced parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain all but a teaspoon of grease.
  2. Increase heat to medium and add the leeks. Saute for a couple of minutes or until soft. Remove about 2/3 of the leeks and reserve for later, leaving the remaining third in the pot.
  3. Stir in the cauliflower, then add the clam juice, juice from the canned clams (but not the clams themselves), water, and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is quite soft, about 30 minutes. The cauliflower should be soft enough to mash with a fork.
  4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. You can alternately transfer everything to a blender in batches but an immersion blender is much easier!
  5. Stir in the clams, leeks, bacon, and parsley. Simmer for a couple minutes to let flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I like LOTS of pepper but very little salt since the clams, clam juice, and bacon are quite salty). Serve!

5 comments:

Mjennette said...

This is amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe. It is not only a great paleo clam chowder, but a great clam chowder by any measure and probably one of the best recipes I've ever made (really!).. Make sure you really purée it well, that's what makes it so wonderfully creamy.

Erica said...

Mjennette, awesome!! So glad you liked it!

Tori said...

I have to say, I am a clam chowder LOVER and this is some of the best clam chowder, traditional or not, that I've ever tasted. Maybe it tasted extra delicious because I made it with my own two hands but it's for sure now going to be a staple at my house. Thanks so much for this.

I don't know how I've never seen this. Cauliflower as the cream base is the prefect idea. I didn't miss the cream and flour not one bit. I might even add some carrots to it next time just to give myself the illusion of munching on potatoes.

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Elegant Mess said...

WOW. Just ... wow. Unbelievably good, and I totally didn't miss the cream and potatoes. Best of all, my picky kids and husband gobbled it up! Thank you!

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