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Vegan Clam Chowder

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'd forgotten the immense feeling of satisfaction I used to get when dipping crispy french fries into a bowl of clam chowder. Like napalm in the morning, it smelt like victory. Today's meal was definitely a throw back meal, satisfying & delicious. And all the deep fried clam strips & tartar sauce, it took me an hour just to get off the couch and start typing.

This is, of coarse, not real clam chowder. But it does capture the essence. The seitan, made of nothing but wheat gluten, has a springy texture. And the broth, while not tasting clammy, has the flavor of the sea. It may not be real, but it is definitely more than glorified potato soup.

Vegan Clam Chowder

Vegan Clam Chowder
6 tbs Earth Balance Margarine, Divided
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup flour
4 cups potatoes, peeled & diced
1 quart unsweetened soy milk
1 quart kombu broth (see below)
1 1/2 cups seitan clams, minced (see below)
6 sprigs thyme
12 sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lemon, juiced

Blend the chopped onion and garlic with 2 tbs melted margarine and set aside. Melt 2 additional tbs margarine in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the celery and saute until it begins to soften. Add the onion mixture and stir until the garlic is aromatic. Add the flour and stir for a couple minutes. Slowly add the soy milk, stirring constantly until the flour is incorporated. Add the broth, bay leaves and potatoes. Tie together the parsley and thyme with a piece of string and add to the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, but still firm.

Stir in the seitan clams, the remaining 2 tbs margarine, along with the lemon juice and the salt & pepper to taste. Stir for a couple minutes and remove from heat. Serve.

8 servings: 282 cal (11g fat, 34g carbs, 14g protein)

Clam Strips

Seitan Clams & kombu broth:
1/4 cup kombu, chopped
1/4 oz shiitake mushrooms
1/4 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp pepper corns
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

Add all ingredients (EXCEPT vital wheat gluten) to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an our. Pour the contents through a strainer and return to the pan. Remove six tablespoons and chill.

Bring the broth back to a simmer. Mix the 6 tbs chilled broth with the vital wheat gluten. Kneed until the dough gets springy. Break into three or four pieces. For each piece, press and stretch to make the thinnest 'cutlets' you can. Add to the broth and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from both and when cool enough, cut into thin strips and mince. If necessary, add enough water to make 4 cups of broth.

Both the clams and the broth can be refrigerated and saved for later or even frozen. Do not discard the broth.

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  1. YUM!!! I LOVE the comfort-food label you've tagged this with indeed!!! I have attempted "clam chowder" but didn't think about doing "clam strips" with the leftover seitan, (maybe because I never ate them in my previous life?) great idea!!
    I'll seriously have to try this.
    I don't have kombu, but have used kelp flakes in the past for "fishy" stuff... do you think that would work? Would it be less fishy? More fishy? I know there would be little green flecks but just wondering...

  2. Flavorwise, I think kelp flakes would be fine. You may have to be more diligent when straining the broth, though.

  3. That clam strip picture turned out really well. Go me!


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