This is an elegant dinner-party-style soup – it’s quite filling, though, so it’s good to opt for a lighter main course to follow. We have an abundance of wonderful mussels here in Ireland, so we should use them more in home cooking. They take flavour very well and are particularly tasty with curry spices.
For the broth
– 1 kg fresh mussels
– 2 tbsp butter
– 1 medium onion, finely diced
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
– ½ fennel bulb, finely sliced
– 100 ml dry white wine
– 400 ml vegetable stock
For the soup
– 3 tbsp butter
– 4 tbsp flour
– 1 tsp Madras curry powder
– 400 ml vegetable stock
– 4 tbsp Sherry
– 200 ml double cream
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the broth
1. Clean the mussels by scrubbing or scraping the shells under cold running water to remove seaweed, barnacles and
mud. Pull away any ‘beards’ hanging from the mussels. Then drain them and discard any that are cracked or have opened.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the fennel and simmer for a further 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the white wine and bring to the boil. Stir in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil again before adding the mussels.
4. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the saucepan occasionally, until the mussels are open.
5. Strain the mussels, keeping the broth. Scoop the mussels out of their shells and place in a bowl. Discard any that remain closed.
Make the soup
1. Put the butter, flour and curry powder into a large saucepan over a medium heat and stir well before adding the vegetable stock and the mussel broth.
2. Keep stirring until it thickens slightly. Add the sherry and cream and stir well.
3. Return the mussels to the saucepan and heat through. Check the seasoning, adding salt and a little freshly ground black pepper to taste.
4. To prepare the topping, combine all the ingredients.
5. To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls. Top with the finely chopped vegetables and garnish with a little sour cream.
A Taste of Home is a food story from Ballyknocken House, nestled in the gentle rolling hills of County Wicklow, where generations of Catherine Fulvio’s family have lived and farmed for over 100 years.
Combining modern Irish food with farm-to-fork principles, Catherine takes on traditional Irish recipes and gives them her own twist to reflect the abundance of ingredients available on her doorstep. From beef that has grazed on lush pasturelands and Wicklow lamb famous for its quality of flavour, to the delicious seafood available nearby.
Recipes include classic Irish family dishes made using simple, fresh ingredients and set against the timeless backdrop of the Irish countryside, Catherine’s delicious, wholesome recipes celebrate the best ingredients Ireland has to offer.
A Taste of Home is published by Gill Books, and is available to buy on www.gillbooks.ie.