This soup from Alison and Simon Holst's book, 100 Soup Recipes makes a great lunch for friends and is always popular with the family for weekends. In cool weather it seems even better than usual!
For 3-4 servings
1kg mussels in shells
1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and halved
1 Tbsp canola or other oil
1 large carrot, scrubbed
2 large stalks celery
2 medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 cup standard (plain) flour
2 cups milk
2 cups fish or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
Boil 2 cups of water in a large pot, then add a third of the washed mussels, cover and heat until shells open 5mm, then lift promptly, with tongs, into a large bowl.
Cut the onion/s into 1cm cubes. Heat the oil in a non-stick pot, add the onion and cook, without browning, stirring occasionally. Chop the carrot, celery and potato into similar sized cubes. Add to the onion. Strain the mussel cooking liquid into the pot of vegetables and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Remove the mussels from their shells, discarding the beards etc. Cut mussels into 1cm cubes, saving any liquid, and set aside.
Melt the butter in the cleaned mussel pot, then stir in flour. Add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring or whisking constantly, then add stock and boil again, still stirring. Take off the heat.
Add the cooked vegetables and their cooking liquid and season carefully to taste. Cool, then refrigerate for up to 24 hours, if necessary.
When ready to serve, heat, stirring constantly, until very hot. Add two thirds of the mussels and any liquid, then pour into large bowls. Top with remaining mussels. Garnish with chopped parsley or dill and serve with hot rolls, garlic bread, crackers or toast.
Everyday Easy: 100 Soup Recipes, by Simon & Alison Holst RRP $34.95
Published by Hyndman Publishing