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Mussel, Fish and Butternut Chowder ... or Stew!

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“Chowder? Well, it's more like a saucy stew! This is simple, rustic, quick and easy, and you can taste and adjust seasonings. Sweetish vegetables go wonderfully well with seafood, and the tiny chilli pepper bite is great. Great for an easy main meal, but do serve it with crusty bread and a crisp, dry white wine. I also made a large salad as a starter. This might be enough for 4 as a starter, but if this is a main dish it probably serves only 2 - 3 generously!”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 lbs mussels on the half shell (1 kg, or 1.2 lbs)
  • 10 ounces white fish fillets (I used 1 1/2 fillets of sea fish, any white fish will do)
  • 1 onion, large, finely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, large, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, chopped into small chunks (use the ready-cut packets, or use pumpkin)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth (500 ml, make from granules or what you have available)
  • 1 cup white wine (250 ml, or use dry rose wine)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes (or use to taste)
  • 1 cup fresh cream (250 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt


  1. Please note that this is a simple and rustic dish, meant to serve with nice crusty bread and wine!
  2. Rinse the mussels (usually there are grit, and also remove any beards still left) and let defrost if frozen. Mussels on the half shell is usually sold par-boiled, so don't let them boil, just let them heat to simmering in the chowder.
  3. Cut the fish into large chunks. Likewise, if you have bought ready-cut butternut chunks, cut them into smaller pieces. Peel and chop the onion, and peel and chop the potatoes.
  4. While prepping those, heat the oil in a large pot.
  5. Fry, all at once, the onion, potatoes and butternut (or pumpkin) pieces. Stir well over high heat so they start to fry well.
  6. Add the chicken broth, turn heat down to a low simmer. After about 5 - 10 minutes, add the wine. (You could add water, or water and wine, but it is not as flavourful).
  7. Let simmer another 5 - 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft, then add the sugar, nutmeg, garlic and hot pepper flakes.
  8. Stir well, then add the fish. Simmer a few minutes until the fish turn opaque.
  9. Add the rinsed mussels. By this time some will have detached from the shells, and other will still be attached. No matter, that's the way it always goes, and just remove the empty shells!
  10. Stir through, and let the mussels simmer about 5 minutes.
  11. Add the lemon juice and the cream, stir through, let simmer for a few minutes, taste for seasoning, and it's ready.
  12. NOTE: You can make this earlier in the day or afternoon, let it cool, and then gently heat again. Do not let it boil. It develops more flavour when it has a chance to stand. Reheat over slow heat.

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