The leaves are beginning to change and we’ve just about turned the corner into fall. What better way to celebrate this transition then starting to focus less on salads and more on soups! Here is how to make your favorite chowder dairy free!
Almost Dairy Free Crab Chowder:
5 Tbls Butter (You can use Ghee or alternative butter but I didn’t know how it was going to turn out and my thinking is that butter is one of those things that makes or breaks a recipe especially because you are making a fat flour mix at the beginning. The chemistry content of the butter might be important so I kept it this time.) Also most people are sensitive to the protein in dairy and not the fat content so this may be okay for some of you out there who know which part of dairy you are sensitive to.
5 Tbls all purpose flour (I’m also gluten free so I used Bob Red Mill’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix)
1 small white onion grated
2 stalks celery grated
3 cloves garlic minced
Salt pepper to taste
3 Cups of raw cashews (before simmered) – simmer in water (water should just cover top of cashews) for 20-30 min – then drain water
5 Cups or more of chicken broth (You’ll be adding as you go to get the consistency you like)
1 tsp hot pepper sauce – I used Tabasco, but you’re free to use the one you most prefer.
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 lb crab – I used a little more (1.5 medium sized crab)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup Dry Sherry Wine
4 small potatoes – I also chopped these pretty small – (so it would be similar to old school clam chowder size.)
2 medium sized carrots – (I chopped these pretty small also.)
CASHEW CREAM BASE:
Note: Make this before you start the soup – you can simmer these while you prep the other ingredients.
My cashews ended up making about 4 cups after they’d simmered. It’s okay if they make a little more or less than this you’ll be able to manage the consistency later. Put the simmered cashews in the the blender and add enough chicken broth to just cover the tops of them. Blend the cashews and broth until creamy. Spend the time you need to get this as creamy as possible, the more creamy it is the more it will seem like real cream.
1) Melt butter in large stockpot over medium heat, stir in flour to make a smooth paste, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in the onion, celery and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Then add the finely chopped potato and carrots. Stir for another minute or two until all well mixed. Continue to cook for 3 minutes.
2) Gradually whisk in the cashew cream base you blended earlier so that no lumps form. Stir in at least 1 cup of chicken broth (you may need more as the recipe cooks). Bring to a simmer stirring constantly so cashew doesn’t stick to the bottom. I found a silicone coated whisk most effective for this but any whisk or wooden spoon would work. Pour in 1/2 of the sherry. Season with dill, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Cover and simmer for about 20-30 min on a low temp. Stir about every 5 min. so the cashew cream does not stick to the bottom. However, if this does happen and you notice there is some stuck to the bottom gently continue to stir above it. DO NOT SCRAPE IT OFF THE BOTTOM. This will cause browned cashew cream to get into the chowder and it won’t taste as good. The bottom won’t burn and when you’re done you can soak the pot and this will come off pretty easily.
3) Once soup has had a chance to simmer add crab meat and simmer for another 10 min. Stirring continuously.
4) Ladle soup into bowls, and top off with a splash of remaining sherry and a sprinkle of fresh chives.
5) Reheating Instructions: Once this chowder sets overnight it may need more chicken broth to warm it up and make it more like chowder instead of dip. Just put the chowder in a pot and add a half to cup of chicken broth stirring it together as it warms, add more until desired consistency is reached.