Mussel and Chourico Chowder

Mussel and Chourico ChowderIn Spain and Portugal mussels are often prepared with sausage, either chorizo or chourico respectively. I have expanded the idea somewhat to create a tasty chowder that is a meal in itself. Note that I steam the mussels in a colander over the broth. If you do not have a colander that will fit over the pot you are using for the chowder, steam the mussels separately, reserving the liquid to use in place of the water. The cream is a Québécois fillip not usually found in the Mediterranean. Leave it out if you wish.




1½ pounds

680 grams

Chourico or fresh chorizo

½ pound

250 grams

Saffron threads

¼ teaspoon

1 milliliter

Olive oil

2 tablespoons

30 milliliters

Onion, diced (1 medium)

4 ounces

120 grams

Garlic, minced (4 or 5 cloves)

½ ounce

15 grams

Pimentón (smoked paprika)

1 teaspoon

15 milliliters

Dry sherry

2 tablespoons

30 milliliters

Firm potatoes, diced

1 pound

450 grams


about 2 cups

About 500 milliliters

Green beans, trimmed

½ pound

250 grams

Salt and pepper

to taste

to taste

Heavy cream (36%)

½ cup

125 milliliters


Pick through the mussels and discard any with broken shells or that do not close when tapped. Rinse, debeard as needed, and set aside in a colander that will fit into the pot you are using for the chowder. Slice the chourico into ¼-inch (6 mm) discs. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over the saffron threads and set aside to bloom.

Place the pot over medium heat and add the oil. When warm add the chourio and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, another 5 minutes or so.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Sprinkle on the pimentón, add the saffron and its soaking water, then pour in the sherry using a bit of it to rinse the bowl the saffron was in. Cook down for a couple of minutes. Add the potatoes and water to just cover them. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Place the colander of mussels into the pot and cover. Steam for about 15 minutes or until all the mussels have opened. Remove the colander from the pot and set aside over a large bowl to cool. Add the green beans to the pot, return to a boil, and let the chowder continue simmering uncovered.

When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove the meats from their shells and add to the chowder along with any broth that has collected in the bowl. Stir in the cream and heat through. Check the seasoning again and serve hot.


3 responses to “Mussel and Chourico Chowder

  1. terrylinden January 10, 2012 at 13:15

    Sounds yummy, but I’m violently allergic to mussels. Could I substitute clams?

    • Leo Cotnoir January 10, 2012 at 15:11

      Certainly, but you’ll probably have to let them steam a bit longer. Alternatively you could use any white fish. In that case dispense with the steaming and just add it to the broth. You might also consider using clam juice or fish stock instead of water.

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