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Mussel Chowder
serves 4

Mussel ChowderINGREDIENTS



  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 large shallots, finely diced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 small celery ribs, sliced

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • 2½ cups water, seafood broth, or a combination

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 handful thyme stems

  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 3 pounds mussels in their shells

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons toasted all-purpose flour (See Note #1)

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • Fine sea salt

  • Freshly cracked black pepper


PROCEDURE



  1. In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and celery, and sauté until fragrant and translucent, stirring often, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, and reduce 1 minute.

  2. Add the water or stock, potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are beginning to be tender, about 7 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper, and add the mussels on top of the potatoes. Do not stir to incorporate. Simmer, covered, until all the mussel shells have opened, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels to a large bowl. Take the soup off the heat. Pluck the mussel meat from the shells, and roughly chop.

  3. Return the pot of soup to low heat. Add the milk and the toasted flour, and whisk until the milk just begins to simmer and slightly thicken. Add the heavy cream, and stir to heat through. Add the mussel meat, and garnish with chopped celery leaves. Serve immediately, with garlicky baguette.


NOTES


#1 To thicken a soup or stew, you can add flour at the end, not just in a roux. But you don't want to add raw flour, or it will taste like raw flour. In a small, dry sauté pan, add the flour, and toast over medium-low heat until the flour is golden, stirring often. Remove from the heat immediately, and store.


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