Tonight I decided to pay homage to one of the creators of VeganMofo, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, with her recipe for New England Glam Chowder. The recipe is included in her 2013 cookbook Isa Does It, which has been an amazing addition to my collection. Isa has basically ruled and revolutionized vegan cooking with her cookbooks over the past 10 years, especially Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance. She makes hearty dishes that are full of bold, amazing flavors and she’s an expert at veganizing old favorites and comfort foods – which is why I was excited to see a recipe for a “glam” chowder in the soup and stew section of her cookbook.
This dish has a mild sea-flavor due to the addition of crumbled nori, but it’s also full of mushrooms – including pillowy shittake mushrooms, which soak up the sauce and add a delightful chewy texture. In my version, I used a blend of white button, baby bella, and shittake mushrooms. Isa also uses a savory cashew cream to thicken up the soup – I switched up the cornstarch in the cream with an equivalent amount of arrowroot powder, with awesome results – everything still thickened nicely. We were left with a hearty, delicious stew that definitely had rich umami undertones, with the addition of crumbled saltines and fresh parsley taking it over the top.
The full recipe is over at the link above, and Isa even includes a video so you can get an idea of the work involved (note that this was completely doable as a weeknight meal, the biggest pains of prepwork being remembering to soak the cashews and peeling those potatoes.) But it’s worth it! I would definitely make this again….and again… and again.