Ok, it is the summer, so my philosophy work is a little sparse right now. Actually, it’s not. I am preparing my senior thesis, which will be Dialogues on metaethics. So rest assured, I am busy. But I don’t have anything to post yet. Meanwhile, I am trying a paleo diet to lose weight. (My thoughts on that soon!) Being as I was a New Englander for a few years, I miss my chowders, and this diet is brutal. So I adapted a pretty awesome clam chowder recipe to make it paleo friendly. (Mainly, I just substituted out lard for butter, coconut milk for milk and cream, plaintains for potatoes, and xanthan gum for cornstarch.) I haven’t tried it, just yet. The original recipe is my own and it is awesome, so I can’t think of any reason why the substitutions wouldn’t be equally awesome. Lard for butter is a no-brainer. I am a little worried about flavors of coconut permeating the chowder, but from experience with Thai curries I know that the coconut flavor is easily masked. So the real worry here is the plantains: will they have the neutral flavor and consistency of potatoes? Also, I know that the xanthan gum will thicken beautifully, but I confess that I don’t really know how much to add at this moment. So the teaspoon is a guess. If you try it, just start small and add as much as you need until the chowder is thickened to your liking.
PALEO CLAM CHOWDER
4 cans minced clams
2 bottles clam juice
4 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
3 tablespoons lard
2 cups minced yellow onion
1 cup minced celery
3 teaspoons minced garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 plantains cut into ½ inch cubes
4 cups coconut milk. This will be roughly 2 ½ cans. I have heard that cashew milk works too.
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1) In a soup pot, cook bacon until all the fat has been rendered. Remove the hard pieces of bacon and set aside for later.
2) Add in the lard; let it melt completely, then add in the onions, celery, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
3) Lower heat, then add in the coconut milk. Drain clams, adding their juice to the pot. Additionally, add in the other two bottles of clam juice at this point. Then slowly bring soup to a boil, stirring frequently.
4) Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in plantains and seasonings; simmer for 10 minutes.
5) Add clams and bacon and simmer for another 10 minutes. At this point, check the seasonings, and season to taste.
6) Sprinkle on the xanthan gum, stirring as you do. Xanthan gum is a powerful thickening agent so don’t go overboard. When the sauce is adequately seasoned, remove from heat for an hour to let flavors marry. Then reheat and serve.