Catherine’s Curried Mussel Soup



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

  • 1kg / 35oz 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
  • 100ml / 3 fl oz dry white wine
  • 400ml / 13½ fl oz vegetable stock

For the Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 400ml / 13½ fl oz vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp sherry
  • 200ml / 6 fl oz double cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • ½ fennel bulb, finely diced
  • ½ celery stick, finely diced
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 4 tbsp sour cream, to garnish

To make the broth, first 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. 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. 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.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the saucepan occasionally, until the mussels are open. Strain the mussels, keeping the broth. Scoop the mussels out of their shells and place in a bowl. Discard any that remain closed. To make the soup, 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. Keep stirring until it thickens slightly. Add the sherry and cream and stir well. Return the mussels to the saucepan and heat through.

Check the seasoning, adding salt and a little freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To prepare the topping, combine all the ingredients.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls.

Top with the finely chopped vegetables and garnish with a little sour cream. 

Fine foodCatherine FulvioGood living