Recipe for Paula Dean’s Mollusk Chowder


Mollusk chowder is a delicious and hearty dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as a starter. Paula Dean, the renowned American chef, has perfected her own recipe for this seafood delicacy. In this article, we will walk you through the detailed steps of preparing Paula Dean’s mollusk chowder, covering all the essential subtopics to help you recreate this mouthwatering dish at home.


Before diving into the cooking process, let’s gather all the necessary ingredients for Paula Dean’s mollusk chowder:

  • 2 pounds of fresh mollusks (clams, mussels, or a combination)
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Preparing the Mollusks

Begin by cleaning the mollusks thoroughly under cold running water, removing any dirt or debris. Discard any mollusks with broken shells or that do not close when tapped. Once cleaned, place the mollusks in a large bowl filled with cold water and let them soak for about 20 minutes to release any sand or grit.

Step 2: Cooking the Bacon and Aromatics

In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon drippings in the pot. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot and sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.

Step 3: Adding the Potatoes and Broth

Add the cubed potatoes to the pot and stir them with the onions and garlic. Pour in the chicken broth, ensuring that the potatoes are fully submerged. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Step 4: Cooking the Mollusks

While the potatoes are simmering, remove the mollusks from the soaking water and scrub them one more time. Discard any mollusks that are still open. Add the cleaned mollusks to the pot, cover it with a lid, and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the shells open. Discard any mollusks that do not open after this cooking process.

Step 5: Preparing the Creamy Base

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for about 1 minute to create a roux. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Cook the mixture until it thickens slightly, then remove it from the heat.

Step 6: Combining the Chowder

Once the mollusks have cooked and the creamy base is ready, pour the creamy mixture into the pot with the cooked potatoes and mollusks. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients and let the chowder simmer for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Serving and Garnishing

To serve, ladle the mollusk chowder into bowls and garnish with the crispy bacon and fresh parsley. This chowder pairs well with crusty bread or oyster crackers, providing a delightful accompaniment to the rich and savory flavors.


Paula Dean’s mollusk chowder is a delectable seafood dish that brings together the flavors of fresh mollusks, bacon, and creamy goodness. By following the detailed steps outlined in this article, you can recreate this mouthwatering recipe in the comfort of your own kitchen. Enjoy the warmth and comfort of this hearty chowder, and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills!

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