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Awhile back, I bought this kit at Whole Foods to grow my own mushrooms. I thought it was pretty cool, but I had tempered expectations.
I am the Dexter of the plant kingdom – nothing survives me. I was pleasantly surprised that these mushrooms flourished and I have become slightly obsessed with them (probably because I was actually able to grow something!)
I kept photographing them and telling everyone I know how amazing these mushrooms are – they literally grow so fast that every time I would walk back into my kitchen throughout the day they were drastically bigger. These photos were taken merely 18 hours apart.
I have long been wanting to make a vegan clam chowder but hot damn it’s hard to find Oyster Mushrooms in the produce department! So finally!!! My vegan chowder dreams have come true (well this one ended up being more of a “mostly vegan” dish since I had those shrimp shells to use up but it’s easily adaptable and DELISH).
This chowder is also Paleo, gluten-free etc … Feel free to tweak to your own specific tastes – Paleo-ites could even add real clams. While I enjoy clams, my husband refuses to eat anything that feeds by filtering grossness out of the ocean and I think that is an excellent point – so these mushrooms are a killer sub! They are chewy and delicious! If you want to grow your own mushrooms too you can order a kit online from this kick-ass company Back To The Roots.
Oyster Mushroom Chowder:
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 large shallot, finely diced
3 rubs celery, finely diced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 medium red potato (skin on), finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
Salt & pepper to taste
kelp flakes to taste (optional)
1/2 cup white wine
1 batch “Potato Cream” (recipe below)
2 bay leaves
Roughly chop the oyster mushrooms. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat add one tbsp olive oil and half the mushrooms. Brown mushrooms, stirring occasionally. Once browned set aside and repeat with the other half of the mushrooms. Set aside.
Add another tbsp olive oil to the Dutch oven and add shallot and celery. Cook 6-7 minutes until translucent. Add diced potato and thyme. Stir and cook 3-4 more minutes, then add garlic, salt, pepper, and kelp flakes. Cook 1 minute, then deglaze pan with white wine. Scrape the browned bits of mushroom off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the wine reduces. Cook until the wine reduces then stir in the potato cream and add bay leaves. Add water if necessary to reach desired consistency. Reduce heat and simmer on low until all the veggies are tender.
1 cup shrimp shells or several strips kombu*
2 cloves garlic
Handful fresh parsley
2 ribs celery
Give all the veggies a rough chop and combine in a small stock pot. Add just enough water to cover the veggies and shells and simmer until its reduced. Strain out all the solids with a mesh strainer. Set aside.
*Whenever we buy whole shrimp I save the shells and freeze them because they make a very rich and flavorful seafood broth. If you don’t have these you can use chicken broth, or try my suggestion for a vegan version simply substituting a few strips of Kombu to get a seafood-like flavor. If you make this vegetarian or vegan I would add some onion and carrot to give the broth some added depth.
3 medium potatoes, yukon gold or red new potatoes
1.5-2 cups seafood broth (above)
Peel the potatoes and chop into fine pieces (mine were about 1” squares sliced about 1/8” thick). Place in a small stock pot and cover with broth – I used the same pot I made the broth in to save dishes. If you don’t have enough broth to cover the potatoes add some water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat until potatoes fall apart when you poke them with a fork. The broth with become gelatinous from the potato starch which is what you want, this will give it the consistency of chowder without making a dairy and gluten-laden bechamel. Add water during cooking if the broth reduces too much – you want the potatoes just covered the entire time. Once cooked place in a blender and purée into a smooth “cream”.