Slow cooker pacific mussels and sausage chowder

There are many types of chowder in the world and even more variations of chowder recipes. Over the centuries if it is from the ocean then some one has probably made chowder out of it. After my last trip to the coast to forage I didn’t get any clams but I did get a nice bucket of fresh mussels. Which make a perfect chowder. The only thing that tends to throw people off about using mussels is that instead of the normal white of clams these are an orange color. Using a slow cooker for this makes the mussels nice and tender and delicious.

Tasty bowl of chowder with mussels and sausage.
Tasty bowl of chowder with mussels and sausage.

ingredients:

  • 8 oz chopped mussels
  • 4 sliced chicken sausages
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 6 to 8 medium potatoes
  • 3 c. water
  • 3 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 c. half and half cream or milk
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. cornstarch or (instant potatoes)

If you are using fresh mussels like I am you will need to steam them open and then cut them up. Also be careful of the occasional pearl. All of the ones that I have found were small but they would still have chipped a tooth. Cut the mussels into bite-sized pieces after removing them from the shell if they are large. In a skillet, saute sausage and onion until golden brown; drain. Put into slow cooker with mussels. Add all remaining ingredients, except milk and cornstarch. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or until vegetables are tender. During the last hour of cooking, combine 1 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining milk and stir well; heat through.

A link to my handy slowcooker

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Homemade pork sausage

A spiral of italian sausage that we made at the same time as the copycat Jimmy dean
A spiral of italian sausage that we made at the same time as the copycat Jimmy dean

One of my favorite memories as a kid was my parents cooking some Jimmy Dean sausage for breakfast.  Now as it was then it is still my favorite sausage.  This will be my first attempt at a copycat recipe for making my own version of this sausage.  This recipe is for the normal version of their sausage.  I prefer the sage sausage but it was requested that I make some that has less sage in it.  Maybe i will do a little of both. Since I have a nice picnic roast that I got on sale I will be grinding it up to make my sausage.  This recipe can be adapted for wild game also just mix a little pork into your game meat to add some more fat to the blend.  I usually do a 3:1 ratio of wild to pork.

Regular sausage:

  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh course ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander

Hot sausage:

  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh course ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander