Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Raymond Blanc’s light shellfish chowder

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 2-4
From Saturday Kitchen
This easy chowder is a satisfying, creamy broth that’s perfect for a quick, no-fuss winter supper.


  1. For the chowder, pour the wine into a large, heavy-based, lidded saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering steadily, then add the clams and mussels and cover the pan with the lid. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the shellfish have opened (discard any clams and mussels whose shells do not open during cooking).

  2. Strain the shellfish through a fine sieve, collecting the cooking liquid in a separate saucepan. Suspend the shellfish over the pan; when cool enough to handle, pick all of the meat from the shells and reserve. Discard the shells.

  3. Heat the butter over a medium heat in a saucepan measuring at least 26cm/10in in diameter. Fry the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.

  4. Add the reserved cooking liquid and the bay leaf, 150ml/5fl oz water, cream and wakame, then bring the mixture to the boil. Once boiling, add the ginger, a grating of nutmeg (to taste) and the picked shellfish meats and heat through for a minute or so. Season, to taste, with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a dash or two of lemon juice.

  5. To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls and sprinkle a little chopped parsley over each serving. Serve a few baguette slices alongside, if using.


For the chowder

  • 100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine
  • 500g/1lb 2oz clams, scrubbed and de-bearded (discard any clams that do not close tightly when tapped firmly)
  • 500g/1lb 2oz mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (discard any mussels that do not close tightly when tapped firmly)
  • 30g/1¼oz unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50ml/2fl oz whipping cream or double cream
  • 10g/½oz wakame (edible seaweed, available from specialist Japanese stores and some larger supermarkets), quickly dipped in cold water to soften
  • 2g finely grated root ginger
  • finely grated nutmeg, to taste
  • dash lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 baguette, warmed and sliced (optional)

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Raymond Blanc’s light shellfish chowder

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