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.


  • 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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Elk meat stew with chicken of the wood mushrooms

While cleaning out the freezer I found the last remaining package of elk stew meat that we had.  Which sounds like a wonderful thing to throw in the slow cooker for dinner.  And then as I continued there was a package of chicken of the woods mushrooms right behind it.  I have never cooked the two together but it sounds like it would be tasty.  Hopefully this little experiment will be the most delicious thing I have made.  Other then my cheeses of course.  For those of you that don’t know what chicken of the woods is it is a polypore mushroom that grows on old stumps and logs.  Also called a sulfur shelf mushroom.

Chicken of the woods AKA sulfer shelf
Chicken of the woods AKA sulfur shelf

random stew ingredients:

  • 1 package of elk stew meat (around a pound)
  • 1/2 lb of chicken of the woods mushrooms
  • 4 small potatoes diced up
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 tablespoons dried onions (out of fresh ones)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 4 cups of water

Cut everything up and add to your slow cooker.  Cook on high for 5-6 hours or until it is cooked to where you want it.  If you want a thicker stew add 2 tablespoons of flours and mix in or one package of brown gravy mix. This would be good with a strong cheese added but unfortunately I don’t have any ready at the moment

crockpot beans and hamhocks

crockpot all filled with yummies
crock pot all filled with yummies

With a turn of the nice spring weather back to our typical cold and rainy weather it made for a soup kind of weekend.  Which gives me my favorite type of soup for a crock pot. As with everything I cook I tend to customize it to my tastes.  Which actually is probably true of most people who make the same recipe multiple times. Most of the ingredients that I use can have something simaler substituted in.  The only one that would be hard to change out is the mushroom powder that i make myself.


  • 1 cup tongue of fire bean
  • 1 cup calypso bean
  • 1 medium ham hock
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • 1 tablespoon mushroom powder
  • 1/2 large sweet onions
  • 1 cup wild mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • enough water to cover beans

Any wild mushroom will work for this recipe.  Porcini (king Bolete) will give it a deeper earthier taste then chanterelle or any of the other fall mushrooms.  If I could ever find some morels I would give those a try.  To start you will need to soak the beans over night in water to rehydrate them.  Both of these varieties of beans will more than double in size after soaking.  After they are rehydrated put all of the ingredients into your crock pot and cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Keep an eye on the water level through out the cooking period.  If the beans are not fully hydrated they will absorb all the water you had in the pot.