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Make-it-without-dairy challenge Week 1: Dairy-free New England Clam Chowder with Bay Scallops

12:52 PM

Since I'm on a "traditional early Spring" theme lately (despite the fact that there is about 6 new inches of snow on the ground right now and 4-6 more scheduled for this evening... and MORE due to arrive later this week), February marks the beginning of the season where farm animals (sheep in particular) begin to lactate.  This means milk, and lots of it.  Traditional dishes from this particular season often include a milk, cheese, or cream-base.  Yep. My arch nemesis.  
But there are SO many alternatives out there to dairy milk and they lend beautifully to all sorts of cheesy and creamy recipes.  And so, this month's theme will be strongly rooted in nothing other than MILK.

I decided to start out with a rich and creamy New England Clam Chowder with Bay Scallops.  My own invention because, while I LOVE clam chowder, I always find myself wanting the clam bits to be... well... the texture and size of scallops.  So, here we go:

New England Clam Chowder with Bay Scallops

About 40 bay scallops (1/2 bag... approximately 1 lb)
 
4 thick slices of bacon or salt pork diced

1 large onion diced

3 large potatoes diced

3 tablespoons flour of choice

approximately 2 1/2 cups clam juice ( I used 2 storebought bottles)
 
3 cups unsweetened soymilk

1 bundle of thyme

2 bay leaves
 
Extra-virgin olive oil

Seasalt to taste

Fresh ground black pepper or hotsauce optional as garnish

In a large soup pot, drizzle about 1 tbsp olive oil and bring up to medium heat.  Add bacon to the pot and cook until it starts rendering out some of the fat.  Add onion and continue cooking until onion turns translucent. Add clam juice, potatoes, and flour.  Stir mixture and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer until the potatoes soften.  Add Bay Scallops and stir.  Add soymilk, thyme, and bayleaves and continue to simmer on low for about 5-10 additional minutes.  *DON'T boil the milk or it will separate and become oily... which doesn't actually ruin the flavor, but it looks a little strange. 

Serve with Wholegrain bread and enjoy!

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