Continuing with FCEP Step 2, I made the most delicious mussel and chorizo soup. Oh, you thought I was kidding about the non-local thing? Nope. The chorizo was from Spain and they were PEI mussels. I know Prince Edward Island sounds like New England, but trust me. It’s not. My Googling skillz are top-notch.
I love mussels. I’d take mussels over clams any day of the week. Plus, they’re fun to eat out of the shell, quick to cook (although they take a little time to clean), and look so pretty sticking out of the soup like that. Like castanets. With a delicious surprise.
This really is a great soup. So good that I’m willing to overlook the fact that a local chef (sort of) came up with it. And that the cream was still local. As well as the carrots. (And an onion.)
Mussel and Chorizo Soup
I usually salt things as I go along, but I’d caution you to go easy on the salt until after you’ve put the mussels in. You may find you don’t need much extra salt at all.
2-3 lbs. mussels
½ cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. shallots, finely minced
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
5 oz. chorizo, finely diced (about ¾ cup)
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 medium leeks, white and tender greens parts only, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large plum tomato, finely diced
¼ tsp. saffron threads, crumbled
3 cups low-sodium fish stock, clam juice, or chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
To prepare the mussels, scrub them under cold running water with a stiff brush. Debeard them by removing any black strings hanging out from between the shells. I like to manhandle them a little bit to make sure there aren’t any decoys in there filled with mud. You only make that mistake once.
In a large, heavy pot, add the wine and shallots, and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover, and cook over high heat until they open, about 5 minutes. Throw away any mussels that didn’t open. Strain the cooking liquid into a large bowl and reserve. Remove half of the mussels from their shells and set aside. Keep the rest in their shells. I play favorites here, keeping the pretty ones intact, and getting rid of the shells with the barnacles all over them.
In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chorizo, carrots, leeks, and onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato, and saffron, and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and reserved mussel cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
Add the cream to the soup and simmer over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the mussels and the thyme, and simmer just until the mussels are heated through, about 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper.