While planning for a gathering on a Friday night recently I decided to do the classic Friday
“Soup du Jour” of Clam Chowder. Since a couple of the guests couldn’t have dairy and one is gluten free, I figured there must be a Chowder recipe that conformed to those requirements. How mistaken I was!
There were dairy free recipes and gluten free recipes, but my research didn’t yield any that were free of both. So I set out to set that right!
Most New England Chowder recipes have a potato base. Since potatoes have natural starch it didn’t seem necessary to add flour. Why a potato based recipe calls for any kind of thickener is beyond me. The only possible reason I could think of is the type of potatoes used. Russet Potatoes, the large, brown skinned variety, are also the variety with the highest level of starch. That starch is what will thicken this soup. If you use a less starchy variety, you made need to also use a thickener. To learn more, the Huffington Post published a primer on potatoes.
The cream was another story. Almost every recipe used cream, milk, or evaporated milk. This is to give the soup that creamy smooth texture. The dairy free methods used anything from coconut milk to soy milk to almond milk. After several taste tests, I decided that unsweetened, unflavored almond milk was the substitute that would best maintain the true flavor of the clam chowder.
This recipe can also be made with your choice of regular milk or cream if you wish.
Edited from the original version on February 12, 2018.