Mussel Soup

Mussel Soup

My parents recently came to me for lunch and, knowing my mother would expect something fishy, I made a fresh mussel soup; one of my newest additions to the Hartford House menu. In the restaurant we serve the soup in a bowl that looks like an ocean floor - well in my opinion it does... with its many smoky-flavour combinations we aptly name it ‘smoked-mussel soup; with fond seaside memories’. In our family no holiday was a holiday without spending time at our beach cottage in Pennington where, every morning, we picked our daily mussel allocation. As I served my parents I wondered if my soup compared favourably with my mother’s well-known Pennington, creamy, half-shelled, mussel gratin. What a savoury kick to get any palate excited it is truly yummy!


  • 1L White Wine
  • 400gr Half-Shelled Mussels, fresh if possible
  • 35gr salted butter
  • 30ml Sunflower Oil
  • 200gr Onions, sliced
  • 8gr Fresh Garlic, grated
  • 5gr Fresh Fennel
  • 150gr Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 15ml Pernod Wine Liquor
  • 250ml Cream
  • 250ml Full Cream Milk
  • 250ml Fish or Vegetable Stock
  • 250ml White Wine poaching liquid (kept aside from when the mussels were poached)
  • 100gr Mussels


  1. In a large pot bring the white wine to the boil.
  2. Then poach the mussels in the white wine for about 2 minutes, remove them from the wine and allow to slightly cool.
  3. Remove the mussels from the shells, keep the mussels to one side and place the shells back in the boiling wine and allow to boil for 5 minutes to enhance the mussel - white wine flavour, then stain the white wine through an oil filter, keep the liquid (for later use) aside and discard the mussels shells.
  4. Melt the butter and heat the sunflower oil in a pot.
  5. Add the onions and garlic, saute well.
  6. Add the fennel and potatoes, caramelising this really well.
  7. Then add the pernod, cream, milk, stock and white wine poaching liquid, cook until the potatoes are soft.
  8. Add the 100gr mussels, take off the heat.
  9. Blend, strain and check seasoning.
  10. When serving, heat up with the remaining mussels, and garnish with optional fresh fennel and deep - fried Nori Seaweed.

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I look forward to hearing from you.