Mussel Chowder

Collecting Mussels from the rocks for our chowder were an adventure I carried over to my children.

I'm lucky to live long enough to watch my grandchildren enjoying the same old habits I use to enjoy when I was a kid.

If you have to buy your mussels from a supermarket, make sure that you clean them before cooking them.

As you can see, they are growing on rocks near or in seawater along the seashores of rocky beaches.

So if you don’t know which ones are edible I suggest you leave that part of the chowder to the experts.

It can be a very painful experience and sometimes it is even deadly – again I say – rather leave it to the experts.


1 cup white wine

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon dried basil,

1 teaspoon pepper

1 to 2 cups milk for thickness

1/4 pound bacon, chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 cups chopped celery

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups clam juice or fish stock

2 teaspoons salt

2 to 3 pounds mussels, cleaned

4 cups dice



Place wine, butter, garlic, and 1 tablespoon basil in a stockpot and brings to a simmer.

Add your 2 to 3 pounds of shell meat and steam, covered, over high heat, for 8 to 12 minutes.

Check to see when shells begin to open, be careful not to overcook.

When the shells open, remove them from the heat, and drain, reserving liquid, then set it aside to cool, discarding any unopened shells.

When cool, remove meat from shells, chop coarsely, and refrigerate until needed.

In a pot, over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown.

Add onions, celery and cook until onions turn translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add potatoes and thyme and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add stock or clam juice to the reserved liquid, add remaining 1 tablespoon basil, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft and begin to thicken chowder.

Add milk to chopped shell meat and bring back to simmer.

Reheat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Check for seasoning.

Serve your mussel chowder with garlic bread or crust bread.

...and some of the wine you used in the dish should be left for enjoying with the meal - as always...


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