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Mussel, leek, pancetta and cider chowder

Feeling peckish? Having holiday parks in so many sort-after parts of the UK really does give us the best pick of local produce!

You can probably guess that the inspiration for this tantalising chowder recipe clearly came from Cornwall, with fresh mussels and a good chug of cider, what's not to love? 

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 40 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients: 

500g rope grown mussels | 2 diced onions | 1 clove crushed garlic | 50ml white wine | 100ml creme fraiche | 120g sourdough bread | 50g diced pancetta | 5g garlic puree | 40g sliced leek | 10g butter | 2 tbsp olive oil | handful of fresh thyme | 10g fresh chopped tarragon | 120ml of West Country cider

Clean and prep the mussels

1. Place the mussels in a large container and cover with cold water.

2. Check each mussel to see if it is alive. If it is open and doesn’t close when it is tapped gently then discard it.

3. Remove the bysal thread (beard) from the side of the mussel and any parasites that has attached itself to the shell.

4. Place all the cleaned live mussels into another large container and leave under cold running water for 5-10 minutes. This will help purge any sand or sediment from inside the shells.

5. Drain off all the water and place into another container and cover with a damp j-cloth.

Note: Do not cover with a lid as the mussels will die

Cook the mussel meat

1. Firstly, check the mussels to ensure they are cleaned correctly and discard any dead ones.

2. In a large pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 chopped onion and the crushed garlic clove.

3. Once the onions are softened add the fresh thyme and white wine.

4. Bring to the boil and reduce the wine by half.

5. Add the cleaned live mussels and cover with a lid.

6. Once all the mussels have opened, remove from the heat, and leave to cool. This should only take 3-5 minutes.

7. Remove the mussel meat from the shells and put to one side. 8. Pass all the cooking liquor through a sieve.

Making the chowder

1. In a small saucepan add 1 tbsp of olive oil and heat gently.

2. Add to the saucepan the pancetta with the remaining diced onion, leeks, and garlic puree. Ensure to render the fat from the pancetta and drain off any excess from the pan.

3. Once the onions are soft, add the West Country Cider and bring to the boil.

4. Add the steamed mussels with some of the cooking liquor and gently bring to a simmer.

5. Stir in the crème fraiche and chopped fresh tarragon.

6. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

7. To serve, spoon into a bowl and serve with warm sourdough bread and butter.

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