New England Clam Chowder with mushrooms and homemade oyster crackers!!! Anything better out there on a cold day? I adapted the classic New England clam chowder by substituting mushroom for clams. The mushrooms create a satisfying chewiness similar to clams.
Why, you ask? In Austria, clams are not easily available. Regular supermarkets don’t stock clams in cans, and it’s even harder to find fresh ones. So, I thought mushroom with a similar texture as clams when cooked, would be a good substitute. And they are. I absolutely love the result.
Since I am writing a recipe column for a Viennese daily about US food, this dish has always been a clear favorite of mine ever since Cambridge, MA became our home. I’ve ordered this dish pretty often at restaurants all over New England and loved the variety from town to town, from kitchen to kitchen.
My version is a “fake New England clam chowder” substituting oyster mushrooms for clams. However, you can use any kind of mushroom you like. Think portobello, porcini, even champignons.
Step-by-step recipe for fake New England clam chowder with mushrooms
Chop mushrooms. I use oyster mushrooms but please go ahead and use any kind.
Dice onion, celery and potatoes. The potatoes are roughly 0.5 inch in size.
In a large heavy pan, pot, or Dutch oven, cook mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of butter for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Cook bacon over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes. Set bacon aside on a paper towel (makes it even crispier). Once bacon is cool, finely dice it.
Add onions and celery to the pan and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. If there is not much bacon fat left, add 1-2 tablespoons butter.
Now, it’s time to make the roux to get a nice and thick chowder. Sprinkle flour evenly over the roasted veggies, and then stir for 1 minute (if using more than 2-3 tbsp flour, add a little more butter).
Remove pan from the heat and add half of the broth while stirring. Heat until broth thickens, then add rest of the broth.
In the meantime, cook diced potatoes in salted water until fork-tender, about 6-8 minutes (slightly undercook them).
Add sautéed mushrooms, diced bacon (keep some for garnish) and potatoes to the chowder and briefly heat, 5 minutes.
Add milk and cream, heat again. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve clam chowder hot, topped with bacon and oyster crackers, and chive if you like.
You can find a recipe for homemade oyster crackers here or simply use store-bought ones.
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