Toby's Mussel Chowder
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried basil, plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 to 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1/4 pound bacon, chopped
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 4 cups (1/2-inch dice) potatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups clam juice or fish stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 to 2 cups milk (depends on how thick you want chowder)
Place wine, butter, garlic, and 1 tablespoon basil in a stockpot and brings to a simmer. Add mussels 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 mussels open, remove them from the heat, and drain, reserving liquid. Set mussels aside to cool, discarding any unopened mussels. When cool, remove meat from shells, chop coarsely, and refrigerate until needed.
In a stockpot, over medium-high heat, saute 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, reserved mussel liquid, 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, chopped mussels and bring back to simmer. Reheat for 2 to 3 minutes. Check for seasoning. Serve with garlic bread.
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