Mussel Soup with Wheat Beer and Star Anise

  • Recipe TypeEntree
  • Prep Time30 minutes
  • Yield4

John, a chef and blogger living in Rome, Italy, shares his recipe for a rich mussel soup. Recreate this recipe with your favorite American Wheat Ale and serve with your favorite local bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 3 shallots or 1/2 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • A small piece of fennel
  • A small carrot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 generous Tbsp butter 
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 bottle wheat beer 
  • Marjoram or oregano
  • sumac (if available)
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Directions

  1. Clean the mussels by rinsing them under cold water, scrubbing them and removing the “beard”. Make sure to throw away any mussels that are open (and won´t close if you tap them hard), broken or damaged in any way.
  2. Start by chopping all the vegetables except the garlic into very small pieces.
  3. Peel the garlic cloves and lightly crush them. Put the vegetables in a pan together with the butter, bay leaf, sprig of marjoram/oregano and the garlic.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes until soft but not brown. Add the mussels. Add 6.5 ounces of water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the mussels have opened (about 5-6 minutes). Discard any mussels that remain closed.
  5. Strain the liquid into a saucepan, add the milk and the star anise. Boil gently for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the star anise and then add the beer. Add salt to taste.
  6. Arrange the mussels in serving bowls, mix the soup with an immersion blender to create a nice froth and then pour it over the mussels. Pick some leaves of marjoram/oregano and put them on each plate. Finally sprinkle a small amount of sumac on top.
  7. At my house the soup is served with rye sourdough grissini, but any good bread would work just fine!
  8. See John's original post.

JohnJohn, author of Caput Mundi Cibus, spends his days working in a restaurant in Rome, learning about Italian cuisine and life in general. He left Sweden for his journey and a vision to explore a new country, cuisine, language, people and many beautiful things. He has found both--native to Italy and from elsewhere during his travels.