Chowders are typically creamy soups thickened with corn starch or flour. Rhode Island Clam Chowder is not thickened, doesn’t include cream, and is a great option for those who may love clam chowder but can’t eat grains. And though it traditionally calls for butter, it can easily be made dairy free as well by subbing out for other fats.
This clam chowder is somewhere in the middle of those two. It’s dairy and grain free, but every bit as delicious as classic New England or Rhode Island clam chowder. The smoked sausage is a nice additional, as well.
TIPS ON PREPPING THE CLAMS: I use live, whole clams in addition to canned whole baby clams. To cut down on the grit in your clams, wash and rewash the canned clams in a strainer, agitating with your hands to loosen things up. The strainer wholes need to be big enough to allow sand through, but not so big your baby clams fall through.
For the live clams, cover them in cold water that has been salted so it tastes like the ocean. The clams will open up and you can swish the bowl around to allow them to release some of the sand in their shells. When you do that, they’ll close up again, so toss them around gently and let them sit until they open their shells again, then swish them around etc. Repeat 3 or 4 times, remove the clams and discard the salt water (you will likely see a fair amount of sand in the bowl after you do this).
Grain, Gluten & Dairy Free Clam Chowder
- 2 lbs live clams cleaned (see online post notes)
- 4 links smoked sausage Andouille, Polish, Chorizo etc
- 5 strips bacon thick, cut into 1/2in pieces
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 lbs baby potatoes diced
- 3 leafy stalks celery chopped
- 2 leeks trimmed, washed, thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs thyme fresh
- 2 tsp tarragon fresh, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 15oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1 qt chicken stock or broth
- 2 cups clam juice
- 4 cups kale washed, chopped
- 3 cups clam water leftover from steaming clams
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- red pepper flakes optional
- 2 pinches nutmeg fresh ground if you can
- 1/3 cup pasley fresh, roughly chopped
- 15oz can whole baby clams
- Fill the bottom of a pasta pot (a pot with a basket in it) with 2-3 inches of water. Put your cleaned, live clams into the basket, the basket in the pot, and the pot onto medium high heat. Steam the clams for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, reserving the liquid.
- In a 6qt cast iron dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until the edges begin to brown. Then add the celery, leeks, potato, bay leaves, thyme, smoked sausage, and coconut oil. Sweat for about 5 minutes then add the garlic and saute for another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, clam juice, and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and add nutmeg. Simmer for 20 minutes
- Add 3 cups of the clam water from cooking the clams and bring back to a simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the soup. Add the kale, tarragon, parsley, and the clams (the ones you steamed and the canned clams). Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.