celery root / mushroom chowder (vegan)

Trying to maintain some semblance of a healthy diet, while also living with the constant urges of proper hibernation foods in my brain has been quite the challenge. This is certainly not to say (for the millionth time) that we don't indulge. However, if we can find a way to be satisfied with a meal by using a healthier alternative, we are pretty alright with that.

One of my absolute favorite foods this time of year is chowder. It is hearty, creamy, rich, and can be filled with any number of tasty bits. My favorite, of course, being traditional New England clam. Unfortunately, being in a house with shellfish allergies, that is not going to happen. So, we have to seek other options.

Despite the fact that it's not filled with tasty little sea creatures, this chowder is still pretty great. That's the great thing about a proper chowder, if it is made correctly, you can put almost anything in and still have it taste amazing. In this particular case, I chose to put that statement to the ultimate test. I chose to make it totally vegan. No cream, no bacon, no sea creatures. I know, I was skeptical too. But, I followed the steps, and when I was done, the results were undeniably delicious.

celery root / mushroom chowder

for the chowder:
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups celery root, 1/2" cubes
  • 6 cups assorted mushrooms, rough chop
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil
 for the croutons:
  • 2 cups toasted bread cubes (or leftover garlic bread)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chop
  • pinch of kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

In a large pot, add onion, garlic, and enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons wine, and cook until wine is almost evaporated. Add celery root and mushrooms to pan, season with salt and pepper, cook for 3-5 minutes until mushrooms start to give off  their liquid. Add flour to pan, stir until well combined. Cook 5 more minutes. Add stock, wine, and bay leaves to pot, bring to a boil. Cook 5-10 minutes until chowder starts to thicken slightly. Reduce heat to low, cook 20-25 minutes. Stir in almond milk.  Remove half of soup (carefully) to blender.  Puree until smooth.  Fold back into remaining soup.  Top with garlic croutins.  Enjoy