Monday, 16 January 2012

Belgian Mussel Chowder

Who doesn't love moules mariniere? This recipe is not just an homage to the great Belgian dish - it's an improvement! By adding just the mussel meats, leaving out the shells and turning the dish into a rich soup, you get all the flavour, less preparation before, less mess and clearing-up afterwards, and for some crazy reason, it's cheaper! What's not to love?

While we're talking about cheaper; cooked mussel meats are around half the price of the netted, shelled ones, at £2 per 375g, which means that this delightful seafood concoction comes in under a fantastic £2 per serving.

For a substantial lunch or light dinner, serve with The Easiest Bread in the World.

Serves 4


1 large onion, finely chopped
4 celery sticks, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Large knob of butter
1 tablespoon of plain flour
350ml dry white wine
350ml water or vegetable stock
Pinches of salt and pepper
750g cooked mussel meats
150ml double cream or creme fraiche
Handful of parsley, finely chopped

Sweat the  onion, celery, garlic and butter in a large pan on a moderate heat until the vegetables are translucent. Add the flour to the vegetables and cook for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the wine and stock and bubble away the alcohol  (approx 5-10 minutes). Add the mussels and the cream/creme fraiche and gently fold everything together until the mussels are heated through (approx 3 minutes). Take the chowder off the heat and sprinkle over the parsley, allowing it to slightly wilt in the residual heat. Serve immediately.

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