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.

JP McMahon
February 2020


Caitlin Bensel

Recipe Summary

1 hr 15 mins
2 hrs 15 mins
6 to 8




Make the stock
  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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.