Ready in 30 mins – Serves 4
“There’s nothing like a bowl of fragrant, nourishing soup to warm a winter’s day. I’ve made this creamy chowder with mussels because they’re so flavoursome, nutritious and affordable, but you could use fresh or smoked fish if you prefer.” – Annabel Langbein
2kg mussels in their shells
180g smoked mussels or skinless, boneless smoked white fish, such as kahawai (optional)
½ cup white wine or water
2 tbsp butter
1 large leek, halved lengthwise, washed and thinly sliced
2 medium-large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1½ cups corn kernels or 400g can corn kernels, drained
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp cornflour
2 cups milk
1 tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, to garnish
garlic bread, to serve
Scrub fresh mussels and discard beards. If using smoked mussels or fish, dice smoked mussels or flake smoked fish. Set aside.
Place fresh mussels in a pot with wine or water, cover and cook over high heat until they open, removing them as they do (discard any that don’t open). Once all mussels are cooked, tip the cooking juices into a jug. Allow mussels to cool a little, then remove flesh from shells, discard shells and dice flesh.
Heat butter in a medium pot, add leek, cover and cook over medium heat until softened without browning (about 6 minutes). Strain in 2 cups of the reserved mussel cooking juices through a fine sieve (if you don’t have enough, top up with water to make 2 cups), then add potatoes, corn and thyme. Cover and simmer until potatoes are soft (about 10 minutes). Add chopped fresh mussels and bring to a simmer. Add smoked mussels or flaked smoked fish, if using.
Mix cornflour into a little of the milk to dissolve and stir this into the soup until thickened. Add remaining milk and simmer, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice and several grinds of pepper, then taste and adjust seasonings, adding a little salt if needed. Mix in most of the parsley then serve in warm bowls, garnished with the remaining parsley and accompanied by hot crusty garlic bread.
This chowder is equally delicious made with 400g diced boneless, skinless white fish fillets and 180g flaked boneless smoked fish or chopped smoked mussels.