Seafood-and-Seaweed Chowder

A combination of dry hard cider and dried seaweed brings a sweet, mild salinity to the stock, making it ideal for precooking the mussels and clams before using it as the base of the chowder.

Seafood and Seaweed Chowder
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
6 to 8



  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped

  • 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) dry hard cider

  • 7 cups water

  • 1 1/2 ounces dried kelp or kombu

  • 10 thyme sprigs

  • 5 medium garlic cloves

  • 3 fresh bay leaves

  • 1 1/2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded

  • 1 1/2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped into small cubes

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

  • 3 medium leeks, finely chopped into small cubes

  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 pound skinless pollock or cod fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish


  • Finely ground nori


Make the stock

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, carrots, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Add cider; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, 12 to 15 minutes. Add 7 cups water, kelp, thyme, garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, until flavors meld and liquid is reduced to about 4 1/2 cups, about 40 minutes.

  2. Place mussels and clams in simmering stock; cover and cook until shells open, 8 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mussels and clams to a medium bowl; discard any that did not open. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Remove meat from shells; discard shells, and set meat aside. Pour stock through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl; discard solids.

Make the chowder

  1. Wipe Dutch oven clean. Add butter, and melt over medium-high. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in potatoes, leeks, salt, and 41/2 cups strained stock (discard any remaining stock, or reserve for another use). Let mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in cream; cook, undisturbed, just until chowder returns to a simmer. Add pollock; cook, stirring occasionally, until fish is almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in reserved mussel and clam meat. Remove from heat. Let stand until mussels and clams are heated through and pollock flakes when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Stir in dill; season with salt to taste. Ladle into serving bowls; garnish with ground nori and dill.

Make Ahead

Stock can be prepared through step 1 and refrigerated 3 days in advance.


Find kelp or dried kombu on the international foods aisle at your local grocery store.

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