April Showers Bring Good Chowders

Spring being a little reluctant this year, and I felt like cooking up something that would make the best of the dreary weather outside. A good chowder always warms me inside and out, but I don’t have the money to spend on good clams. Using tofu is always a good way to save on proteins, and the kombu (just look in the Asian food section of your grocery store’s International Foods aisles) gives it both thickness and a nice ocean-y flavor. If you’re never tried it – fear not! This healthy version of chowder is also quite lowfat.

CONNECTICUT CHOWDAH

4 cups vegetable stock
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, chopped (an onion is fine if you don’t have a leek on hand)
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
3 inches kombu sea vegetable
1 1/2 teaspoon each salt and coarsely ground black pepper (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
16 ounces silken tofu
1 tablespoon mellow white miso paste
8 ounces oyster mushrooms, chopped

Spray a large stockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Using about two tablespoons of the stock, heat the celery and leek over medium heat until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add remaining stock, potatoes, bay leaves, kombu, salt, pepper, and Old Bay; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and kombu. In blender, combine tofu with 2 ½ cups of the simmered soup and puree. Pour pureed soup back into the stockpot. Dissolve the miso paste in 3 tablespoons of hot water and stir into soup. Heat a large skillet with cooking spray and sauté the mushrooms for 3 minutes, until soft. Add to stockpot. Serve with (what else?) oyster crackers.

— posted by Anne

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