Mussel Bisque

Bisque–Soup just for Seafood, Now that’s a Soup!

Although Bisque is traditionally a Seafood Soup, specifically shellfish, it can be made with chicken or other meats. However, to me that’s not what comprises a real bisque, so we’ll call it our soup just for seafood.

We start out with mussels steamed in wine, add a handful of aromatic vegetables simmered in butter, the winey mussel juices, and indeed a beautiful soup is created. Tomorrow those flavors will have joined hands and married one another, and I’ll most like add some steamed shrimp, and scallops, and if I had oysters on hand…well, you get the picture.

The Mussels make a delicious broth flavored with white wine, spicy saffron, and vegetables–carrots, leeks, & onions

Serve with crusty bread to soak up those flavors–this is Hubby’s bowl

Or on a bed of rice with steamed mushrooms–my plate


1 bottle of dry white wine (750 ml)

3 pounds of fresh mussels, cleaned

6 Tbsp unsalted butter (3/4 stick)

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions

2 carrots, chopped

4 tsp minced fresh garlic

1/2 tsp saffron threads

4 whole plum tomatoes (canned), chopped

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp fresh parsley and/or dill minced (I used both)

salt and black pepper

Proceed to;

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of the wine to a boil in a large shallow pot. Add the mussels, cover, and cook over medium heat until the mussels open–about 5 minutes. Discard any that did not open. After the mussels are cool enough to handle, separate them from the shells and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquid–I call it the mussel liquor. If necessary, strain it

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, leek, carrots, garlic, saffron, two tsp salt, & 1 tsp pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or so. Add two cups of that reserved mussel liquor, and the rest of the white wine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the half-and-half and heavy cream, and the mussels. Just let this heat through. Do not boil. Stir in the parsley and dill, season to taste with salt and pepper. Get those bowls and plates out and serve!

Some of our ingredients

Let’s get those mussels cleaned. This is the time-consuming part, but well worth the effort. First of all, discard any mussels that are already open, and those with cracked shells. They should be tightly closed, or will close if disturbed indicating they are alive. Give them a good scrub with a stiff kitchen brush to remove any debre stuck to the shells. And don’t forget to remove those ‘beards’ — those stringy, hairy threads that they use to attach themselves to things or other mussels. I used a piece of steel wool to clean the shells

Before scrubbing. Seemingly those are just shell spots

All and nice and clean…yes, that’s more like it

Bring the wine and water to a boil

Add the mussels

Saute the onions, carrots, leek, and garlic

Add the saffron

The aroma is awesome!

The mussels are ready

That is such a beautiful site..shells be-gone!

In go those plum tomatoes

Adding the half-and-half

Next, the cream

Rest of the wine

Adding those lovely mussels

Fresh parsley and dill

Give it a stir and warm through

Mussel Bisque

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