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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mussel and Spinach Bisque

For all of you seafood lovers out there, we have something special for you today.  For day 19 of Soup Month 2014 we went a little fancy with a delicious Mussel and Spinach Bisque.  With a creamy broth of white wine, milk and half and half, the bisque is dotted with pieces of baby spinach and plump, juicy mussels.

Many people shy away from mussels because, let's face it, they do look a little odd.  With their black, shiny shells, often with little green "beards" hanging off the edges, they do look a bit intimidating.  The good thing is, they taste wonderful and they are easy to make.  With a slightly salty, briny flavor, mussels are quite good when they are simply steamed, but adding mussels to a creamy bisque elevates them to a more sophisticated level.  So, if you've never eaten mussels, this is a great way to try these tasty little bites.

This soup was quite filling on its own, and makes a great main course, but it could also be served in smaller portions as a first course.  It would be perfect served with grilled steaks or a Prime Rib Roast.  Enjoy!!

3/4 cup  Dry White Wine
1/4 cup  Water
2 lbs  Mussels, scrubbed and any beards removed
2 TB  Salted Butter
1 TB  Finely Minced Shallots
3 TB  Flour
8-oz bottle  Clam Juice
1 TB  Tomato Paste
1 cup  Milk
1 cup  Half and Half
Salt and White Pepper to Taste

In a large skillet bring the wine and water to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the mussels, cover, and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a cookie sheet to cool, discarding any mussels that did not open, and reserving the cooking liquid from the mussels.

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the flour, stirring to combine, and cook 2 minutes longer.

Add the clam juice and the reserved cooking liquid to the pot, whisking to blend in the flour.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the tomato paste and stir until smooth.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the milk and half and half and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Add the spinach to the pot and cook just a few minutes until the spinach is wilted, then add the mussels to the pot, season with salt and white pepper and serve immediately.

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