My Jersey Mussel, Leek and Potato Soup. It is #WineWednesday and for the past 6 weeks I have been studying for a WSET* wine course. They are the gold standard for wine training in the hospitality world and I’ve set myself a little challenge to master their second and maybe third levels. But do you need an excuse for a nice glass of wine? One of my great pleasures is wine and seafood so I thought I should post a favourite wine and food pairing for you to try.
What to Drink? Mussels in a creamy sauce pair extremely well with French dry whites like Muscadet and Picpoul de Pinet or New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.
What is the inspiration for my Jersey Mussel Soup?
One of the most classic yet simple French soups is called Soup Billi Bi. A delicious mix of white wine, cream, onions, and mussels. A deconstructed moules a la crème, with none of the hassle of removing the mussel meat from the shells. Although for me that is part of the joy of eating mussels. Soup Billi B was created at the famous French restaurant Maxim’s at the height of its popularity. It was the haunt of royalty and celebrities like Orson Wells, Bridgit Bardot and Ava Gardner.
My recipe is a little more rustic and heartier with some finely sliced leeks and diced potatoes. The recipe calls for fish fumet or stock, you can make your own, but you can also buy good quality stocks from quality supermarkets and delis. You will need to cook and steam the mussels first and remove from their shells once cool. Reserve the cooking juices which will add lots of flavour to your soup. You can cheat and use frozen mussel meat, but nothing beats fresh local mussels.
More Jersey Mussel Recipes
How to Prepare Mussels
To prepare your mussels first rinse them with plenty of cold running water and throw away any mussels with cracked or broken shells. Give any open mussels a quick squeeze if they do not close immediately, throw away as well as they are dead and not to be eaten. Then using a small knife scrape the shell to remove any barnacles or dirt and pull out any beards by tugging towards the hinge of the mussel shell. If you intend to cook later that day, store in a plastic container in the bottom of your refrigerator covered with a damp tea towel.
Jersey Mussel, Leek and Potato Soup
- A large heavy-bottomed pan
- A very fine sieve
For the Mussels
- 1.5 kg Mussels washed and scrubbed
- 100 gr Shallots peeled and finely chopped
- 100 ml Dry White Wine
For the Soup base
- 4 large Leeks washed and finely sliced
- 2 sticks Celery washed and very finely sliced
- 2 clove Garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 pint quality Fish stock
- 750 gr firm waxy Potatoes washed, peeled and diced
- A good pinch of freshly ground white Pepper
- Bouquet garni
- 50 gr unsalted Jersey Butter
- 50 gr Plain Flour
- 50 ml Dry White Wine
- 500 ml Jersey Double Cream
- 1 small bunch Curly Parsley washed, dried and finely chopped
- Place the shallots, wine and mussels into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place on a tight fitting lid and steam for five minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Remove from pan and strain any cooking juices. Remove mussels from their shells.
- Heat the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and saute the leeks and celery for ten minutes. Add the flour and cook out for two to three minutes stirring regularly.
- Stir in the fish stock and wine and then add the potatoes and bouquet garni. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for fifteen minutes.
- Add the pepper and cream and cook until the potatoes are soft. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.
- Add the mussels and heat gently for two or three more minutes.
- Ladle carefully into a bowl to serve and top with chopped parsley.