Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dairy-Free Potato Chowder

So I like chowder a lot. I also have kids who can't have dairy. This creates a conundrum, since chowder is normally made with a milk/cream base. However, I have been experimenting with using dairy substitutes in my recipes, and I found that almond milk works almost as well as regular milk for most dishes. After making it a couple of times, I think I've got this recipe down!


  • 6 slices bacon (save the fat)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • vegetable, canola, or olive oil (as necessary, see recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (maybe)
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and rinsed
  • 1 quart almond milk (or rice milk)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon old bay seasoning 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black pepper)
  • 3 green onions, chopped for garnish
Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or pot over medium-low heat. Remove cooked bacon and lay on paper towels; set aside for later. Estimate (or measure) the rendered bacon fat. You need 1/4 - 1/3 cup, so add oil if there's not enough or remove any excess. Sweat the onion, celery, garlic, and salt together over medium-low heat until the onion and celery are soft. Sift the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the flour becomes slightly toasted, stirring constantly so it does not burn. Add the potatoes, milk, old bay, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the flour (and get any stuck bits off of the bottom of the pot). If your "milk" is unsweetened (usually labelled "unsweetened" on the box), add 1 tablespoon of sugar (to taste). Simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 20-30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as desired (i.e. add more old bay, salt, or pepper if you want). Ladle into bowls and top with the green onions and crumbled bacon.

NOTE: If your family has no problems with dairy, you could make this with 2% or whole milk. Since I personally have no issues with dairy, I add a couple of tablespoons of finely shredded cheddar cheese to my bowl! I also like to add crackers.

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