This past Christmas Eve my son asked me to make him clam chowder. We celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes and let’s just say that my kids “don’t participate fully.” That’s a nice way of saying they won’t eat things like: snail salad,baccalà salad, fried calamari, fried smelts, scallops wrapped in bacon, baked stuffed shrimp, & shrimp cocktail. I can maybe get a bite of a shrimp cocktail and a scallop (ok really the bacon), but that’s about it. I am hopeful that over the years their palates will mature and soon they will eat these traditional foods with the rest of the family. Especially because this is my favorite family tradition. I joked with Brent that Christmas Eve was a non-negotiable holiday before we got married. I told him he could have Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but Christmas Eve would always be with my family. I can’t wait until my kids appreciate all the food!
But until that happens, I will gladly honor any seafood request by my children. I thought about using the recipe for my mom’s clam chowder, but being made with heavy cream and milk meant that my enjoyment would be short-lived; the bloating and blah-blah belly would occur and I would be paying the price for such an indulgence on my favorite holiday no less. I knew I could make it dairy-free but I wondered if it would be good enough and if my kids would eat it. I don’t normally recommend experimenting with a new recipe on the day of a major holiday, but I took the chance and was pleased with the results!
I thought it was great and my son loved it too. I thought it tasted pretty darn close to regular clam chowder and my family agreed. You can’t taste the coconut milk or the cauliflower in my opinion. But the real critic, my Italian mother, said it was good too! Did I really just say that I basically paleoified a traditional family recipe and my mom actually thought it came out good?! Yup, and I pulled off this feat on Christmas Eve none the less! 😉 I’m calling that a win.
So here it is. My version of clam chowder done up dairy-free & nutrient dense. I hope you like it as much as we did!
- 1 lb. bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 package celery hearts, diced
- ¼ cup arrowroot powder
- 16 oz. clam juice
- 1 head cauliflower, steamed & pureed
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
- 3 lb. potatoes, cubed
- 5 cans (6.5 oz.) minced clams, rinsed & drained
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Tobasco sauce to taste
- 4 bay leaves
- In a large pot, cook the bacon until it’s crispy.
- Remove bacon from pot; set aside. Reserve bacon fat.
- Sautee celery & onions in ¼ cup bacon fat until soft.
- Add arrowroot and mix completely.
- Next, add the clam juice through bay leaves and mix well.
- Add remaining bacon fat to taste. (I added all my fat back in.)
- Simmer on low until potatoes are soft.
- Freezes well.