Mussel Chowder

An adaptation of the traditional New England Clam Chowder, Mussel Chowder makes a delicious and rich meal. Serve with warm crusty bread and butter. If fresh mussels are unobtainable,

1 pound of canned and drained mussels may be substituted, omitting the mussel cooking liquid.3 oz. salt pork, diced

2 oz. butter

2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped

3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped

16 fl. oz. chicken stock

2 quarts mussels, scrubbed, steamed, removed from their shells and

5 fl. oz. of the cooking liquid reserved

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

10 fl. oz. double cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, fry the salt pork over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until there is a film of fat covering the bottom of the pan and the salt pork cubes resemble small croutons. With a slotted spoon, transfer the salt pork to kitchen paper towels to drain. Set aside and keep warm.

Add the butter to the pan. When the foam subsides, add the onions and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Pour over the chicken stock and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender but still firm.

Add the mussels with their cooking liquid, the salt, pepper, cayenne and reserved salt pork, stirring to mix well.

Increase the heat to high and bring the chowder to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the cream.

Pour the chowder into a heated soup tureen, sprinkle over the parsley and serve at once.