It’s Lent right now and that’s pretty much my favorite time of the year. As a mostly vegetarian, sometimes fish eater, every Catholic on the planet eats like me on Fridays. It’s the only time of year where my obnoxious restaurant questions can be excused and menu items are specifically tailored to my diet. One of my favorite things is clam chowder (when they don’t ruin it with bacon!).
I wanted to make a vegetarian/vegan version of this hearty soup. Oyster mushrooms naturally have an oceany favor, thus the name, plus kelp granules and Old Bay seasoning reinforces the flavor. I left the soup a little less clammy and more potato-y simply because that’s how I like it. If you get too many oyster mushrooms, the flavor gets really overwhelming. If you don’t have Old Bay seasoning, feel free to borrow mine. I needed it for a recipe a while ago and could only find a one pound can of it at the store. I could season everything I eat with Old Bay for a year and never use all of this, so if you really need some or have a suggestion of tasty ways to use it up – please let me know!
2 large Yukon potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½” pieces
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
3 oz oyster mushrooms, cleaned (no substitutions)
½ yellow onion
1 bay leaf
½ – 1 tsp kelp granules
½ – 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
¾ c unsweetened almond milk or other milk
Using a large pot, bring potatoes in 3 c broth (or enough broth to just barely cover potatoes) to a light boil. Cook until potatoes are very tender. Pour out about half of the remaining liquid. Use an immersion blender or hand mash/stir until the remaining broth is velvety with potato but there are still many potato chunks remaining.
Chop carrot, celery, and onion. Saute in a nonstick pan with a thin layer of broth and bay leaf, replenishing broth as needed. After vegetables begin to soften, roughly chop mushrooms, sprinkle with ½ tsp kelp and Old Bay. Add to veggies.
Once vegetables are as soft as you’d like, discard the bay leaf and add the veggies to the potatoes. Stir together and add almond milk. Add additional kelp granules or Old Bay, as desired as well as salt and pepper to taste.
You can find kelp granules at Whole Foods or most health stores.