Taking the full measure of life

Soup Season

November 3rd, 2008 · 9 Comments

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The trees catch fire.  The now-golden sunlight fades by 6 p.m.  The Grady High football announcer’s voice reverberates up the street, followed at halftime by the percussion and horns of the marching band.

Sitting by the cold window in the dark, I feel the season’s usual downward tug on my heart.  For a moment, I don’t breathe, caught in loss nearing despair.  Then I turn toward the glow of the kitchen, stand, and move into the light.  I chop onion, fry bacon; I stir, simmer, and season.  I make my own comfort.

Soup season has arrived.

(Carrie’s great clam chowder recipe caught my eye.  I’ve altered it a bit to be dairy-free and to be more to my taste. Speaking of Carrie, she offers a multitude of great gluten-free recipes, including some chocolate chip cookies rumored to be among the best in the gluten-free world.  If you can eat soy and eggs, you may want to check them out.)

Creamy But Cream-Free Clam Chowder
(New England-Style, plus gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free)

This is pure comfort food.  It’s not unbearably unhealthy, but it’s also not light. I served it with a big green salad with pistachios and the season’s first blood oranges to balance things out a bit.

3 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup clam juice (Sold in bottles at the grocery store)
5 medium red potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 c. potatoes), diced
1/2-1 c. water
1 (6-10 oz.) can minced clams WITH juice
1 cup hemp milk*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

In a dutch oven or large stock pot, cook diced bacon at medium heat until it is browned and crispy. Add oil, and allow it to heat a few moments.  Add chopped onions, salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning. Cook 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add clam juice, clams WITH juice, and diced potatoes. If necessary, add 1/2 to 1 c. (or more) water until the potatoes are just barely covered.  Cook at a low boil for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked and are fork-tender. Using a potato masher or immersion blender, mash potatoes within the pot. (This will help to create a creamy texture for the soup.) Add hemp milk to soup, stir well, and heat through.  Enjoy with additional pepper and gluten-free crackers. (Schar makes my favorite gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, dairy-free table cracker.)

Makes 4 servings.

*Yes, you can probably use a different dairy substitute, but hemp milk is creamy and isn’t sweet, so it’s a good match for this recipe.

Tags: allergen-free recipes · autumn · quick meals

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 gaile // Nov 3, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    oh YEAH! I am SO making this in the next few weeks – this looks super tasty, indulgent, and perfect for this new cool rainy weather we’re getting. Thank you so much for posting something I have been longing for for years! Plus, bonus – an excuse to finally try hemp milk! 🙂

  • 2 Jennifer // Nov 4, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Mmmmm…yum! I love soup! Winter (okay Rainy Season) has come to the SF Bay Area and we’ve been having Soup Night at least once a week. This looks like a delicious recipe!

    One of my favorites is celery potato soup. Have you ever tried making it? The recipe’s simple: saute onions, add chopped potatoes, celery, and liquid (water or broth); boil until soft. Then, give it a quick puree in the blender or with a hand mixer.

    It’s one of my favorites for cleaning out the fridge (gets rid of all those sad celery stalks lingering in the veggie drawer) and it looks lovely when garnished with parsley, crispy bacon and a swirl of olive oil.

  • 3 Andrew is getting fit // Nov 4, 2008 at 1:19 am

    We’re heading into salad season here in the southern hemisphere. 🙂

  • 4 Hannah Celeste // Nov 4, 2008 at 11:15 am

    This sounds perfect. I’m feeling tense and shaky today–not sure if it’s the election or being by myself (my husband is out of town at work) and bad sleep–the combo just makes me sick to my stomach and the only thing I can seem to stomach is water and gluten-free crackers.

    Speaking of crackers, what are the crackers that are pictured in your shot?

    I will definitely make this. Thank you so much.



  • 5 Cheryl // Nov 4, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    as always, your photos are stunning.

  • 6 Anna // Nov 4, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    This looks amazing!! I love soup season, too. I never thought I’d be able to eat clam chowder again, but I can’t wait to make this recipe.

    Thank you!!


  • 7 sally // Nov 4, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Hannah–they are Schar gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, dairy-free crackers. They are a little less all-natural than I like my diet to be, but they taste closest to the wheat-based version of any I’ve tried, so I eat them occasionally.

  • 8 carrie @ Ginger Lemon Girl // Nov 5, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Ohhhh very nice Sally!! I’m so glad that worked out well for you! I think I’m gonna have to try it myself casein free because you and others are raving so much about that version!! 😉 Thanks for the link love! 😉

  • 9 Heidi // Nov 6, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    What kind of hemp milk do you use? The only kind I’ve tried before has been rather watery and disappointing.

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