Creamy, Rich Mussel Soup

I adore seafood, and nothing quite beats a rich and creamy mussel soup.  I use this recipe often as a starter for dinner parties and it has proven to be a winner!  I remember first experimenting with this recipe in high school, I used to collect fresh mussels off the rocks at our beach house and take them home to make the soup for my father.  Recipes grow as we do, and each one fosters unique memories for me.

Creamy Mussel Soup

1 kg fresh mussels in shells
500ml cream (light can be used)
1 medium carrot
1 small red onion
1 celery stalk
1 spring onion
4 rashers of bacon (diced)
2 egg yolks
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
Fish sauce
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs thyme
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Pinch Paprika
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper
1 big lemon

Make sure the mussels are de-bearded and clean.  Put them in a pot with the white wine.  Add some finely diced spring onion, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a sprig of thyme. Let the pot boil for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and discard any mussels that did not open.  (These are possibly not fresh).

Keep the liquid, strain it through a fine sieve to remove any sand and dirt.  This stock will be used later on in the recipe.

Fry the bacon until just done.  Put aside.  Finely dice the carrot, onion and celery.  Add to a pan along with the butter,cayenne pepper and garlic and fry until the onion goes translucent. (4 minutes or so)  Add the bacon and and the stock from earlier.  Stir in a teaspoon of fish sauce and add the cream.  Let it simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove a cup full of the liquid and add the eggs yolks to it.  Whisk together and add back to the pot.  This will thicken the soup and make it delicious and glossy.  Add the mussels and set aside on very low heat.

Serve hot, sprinkle with a touch of paprika, a pinch of salt and pepper and a wedge of lemon.  A french loaf or baguette work wonderfully to soak up the flavours.



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