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When I was a little girl, some of my most fondest memories was of eating clam chowder with my grandma at a local restaurant called Oyster House. They would serve it hot in a tiny diner bowl with a side of oyster crackers. As I’ve grown, I’ve made it my mission to recreate these comfort foods with quality ingredients. This AIP Clam Chowder recipe is my attempt at doing so, and if I do say so, it’s darn good!
Here where I live in the northwest, we have beach access to pick fresh oysters and clams and throw them directly into our dishes. It’s been a while but I used to go out on my aunt’s beach and dig for clams until my neck was pink from the sun that peaked through the overcast clouds. Rain or shine, we love our clam and oyster digging.
This recipe includes a unique twist. I went to a local farmers market and asked a local farmer which mushroom he thought would pair well with a clam chowder. He introduced me to the maitake mushroom and I’m so glad he did because it is the perfect texture for this dish. If you have the access to this mineral rich fungus, you ought to bless yourself and throw them in your chowder. HealthLine mentions an animal study that showed maitake mushrooms to have a positive effect on blood sugar regulation.
You don’t have to use maitake, but do consider adding some sort of mushroom as it adds a great texture, flavor, and nutrients to your dish. Some mushrooms have medicinal properties as well. See this article by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD for some inspiration for medicinal mushrooms to incorporate. Enjoy!
- 4 lbs fresh clams
- 5 cups water or enough to cover the clams
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ pound bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 leek, sliced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 medium sized Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups mushrooms, I used maitake
- 1 tablespoon cassava flour
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Chives, finely chopped for garnish
- In a large stock pot, bring water, salt, and clams to a boil. About 8-10 minutes or until the clams open.
- Remove from heat and fish out the clams with a slotted spoon. Discard the shells and chop the clam meat into chewable pieces. Keep broth and clams separate and set aside for later. (These first two steps can be done about 24 hours ahead of time but not necessary.)
- In a separate large stock pot, sauté bacon on medium until almost totally cooked.
- Add leek, garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sauté until bacon is crisp and the leeks are translucent.
- Place a large strainer on top of the pot with bacon, and then pour the clam broth in to remove any unwanted particles.
- Add diced potatoes and bay leaf and bring mixture to a boil. Switch to medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. (You may need to add another cup of water to this mixture.)
- At this point, I took about a cup of cooked potato bits and a bit of broth and blended them to use as a thickening agent, and then added it back to the pot. This is optional.
- Combine cassava flour and about 4 tablespoons of broth in a cup and stir into a slurry.
- Add slurry, coconut milk, and mushrooms to the pot. Stir to combine and allow to thicken on low heat, about 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with chopped chives.