Lightly Curried Mussel Broth

4 portions


1kg/2lb 4oz fresh live mussels

10 small new potatoes

8 spring onions

1 medium onion

2 stalks of celery

1 stick lemon grass

85g/3oz fennel

3 good sprigs fresh coriander

2 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

½tsp cumin seeds

1 star anise

125ml/4floz dry white wine

600ml/1pt fish stock 

¾tsp curry powder 

good pinch saffron

75ml/2½floz whipping cream

Scrape the mussels of any barnacles, remove the beards and wash the mussels in at least three changes of fresh cold water.

Cut each new potato in half and turn each half into small barrel shapes giving 20 pieces in total. Trim the spring onions of any root and unusable outer leaves and cut each onion into three pieces at a slight angle.

Roughly chop all the remaining vegetables and garlic, place these in a saucepan along with the coriander, bay leaf, cumin, star anise, wine, stock and curry powder. Cover and bring this to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Plunge in the mussels, cover and return to the boil. Continue boiling until the mussels have all opened. Tip them into a colander to allow the liquor to drain off and the mussels to cool. Once the mussels are cool enough to handle remove them from their shells, discard the vegetables and shells. Strain the liquor through a fine strainer or preferably through muslin then return the liquor to a saucepan along with the saffron and the new potatoes, bring to the boil and simmer until the potatoes are cooked, meanwhile remove the mussel meat from the shells.

When ready to serve add the mussels and the cream to the liquor, return to the boil and add the spring onions, divide it out equally between the soup plates.

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