Mussel Chowder

by Cate on March 20, 2004

4 1/2 lb mussels (preferably cultivated), cleaned and steamed, using half white wine and half water and reserving cooking liquid
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 large orange bell peppers, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
Accompaniment: crusty bread

Pour reserved mussel cooking liquid through a fine sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into a bowl. Set aside 24 mussels in their shells, then shuck remainder and halve them crosswise. Wash chopped leeks in a bowl of cold water, then lift out and drain well.

Cook leeks, carrots, bell peppers, and shallot with salt and pepper in butter and oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, uncovered, stirring, 1 minute. Add strained mussel cooking liquid and wine and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in halved mussels and cream and simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. Add reserved mussels in their shells and simmer until just heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 first-course servings.
Gourmet, April 2002

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