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Nicky’s recipe for March – Brancaster Mussel Stew
March 01st, 2018
Brancaster Mussel Stew
1 large onion
1 large carrot
3 sticks celery
½ medium red chilli finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
800ml fish stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
150g potatoes peeled and quartered –charlottes are a good choice
1.5kg fresh mussels
260ml white wine
260ml double cream
Good handful chopped parsley
½ lemon – juiced
Sal and pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sweat the onion, carrot and celery for 10 minutes. Add the chilli and garlic, then sweat for a further 2 -3 minutes.
Add the stock, thyme and bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes, the add the potatoes and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Take care not to overcook the potatoes.
Meanwhile cook the mussels. Scrub them first to get rid of any mud or sand.
Place a large, dry saucepan over a high heat and when hot throw in the mussels quickly followed by the wine. Cover, leave for 1 minute, then shake the pan. Leave for a few more minutes, still with the lid on.
Once all the mussels have opened, drain them in a colander, reserving the liquid. Remove the meat from the shells and strain the cooking juices through a fine sieve. Discard any that have not opened.
When the potatoes are just about cooked, add the cream and the juices from the mussels to the soup and bring to a rolling boil in order to reduce the soup to a nice consistency.
Throw the mussels into the soup along with the parsley, lemon juice, paprika and seasoning. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and sprinkle the soup with fresh thyme before serving.
Mussels are in season at the moment and do not cost your pocket or the environment a lot, unlike some fish. They are typically grown on ropes suspended from floating rafts in clean waters and plump up naturally on plankton, converting it into nutritious meaty flesh. They are rich in the long chain fatty acids EPA and DHA which are essential to keep our brains and hearts in good working order and are also excellent sources of iron and zinc.
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