Langoustine and mussel chowder with herb celery
- October 2010
- Serves 8
- Takes 20 minutes to make, 20 minutes to cook
Rick Stein evolved this langoustine and mussel chowder recipe on a visit to Ireland, where these ingredients are found in abundance.
- 11.5g (6.5g saturated)
- 10.6g (2.6 sugar)
- 20 raw or cooked medium-size langoustines
- 450g mussels, cleaned
- 50g butter
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 50ml dry white wine
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 50g rindless dry-cured unsmoked bacon, cut across into short, fat strips
- 225g potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 300ml whole milk
- 120ml double cream
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh herb celery (or see tip)
- 2 water biscuits, crumbled (optional)
- If using cooked langoustines, go to step 3. If using raw langoustines, put them into a saucepan large enough to hold them and all the mussels, then add 300ml water and ½ tsp salt. Cover, bring to the boil and steam for 3 minutes. Uncover the pan and turn the langoustines over once or twice. Add the mussels, cover the pan again and steam for a further 3-4 minutes until the mussels have all opened (discard any that don’t open).
- Tip the langoustines and mussels into a colander set over a big bowl, to collect the cooking liquid. When they have cooled slightly, remove the langoustines and mussels from their shells (keeping 8 mussels in the shells) and set aside, reserving the langoustine shells.
- If using cooked langoustines, remove from their shells and set meat and shells aside. Put the mussels into a medium pan with 300ml lightly salted boiling water. Cover and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open, then drain, keeping the cooking juices (as in step 2). Shell the mussels, except for 8 of them. Set aside. Discard the shells.
- Melt 25g of the butter in a large pan, add the langoustine shells and 2 of the bay leaves, then fry for 1 minute. Add the wine and the reserved cooking liquid. While it is bubbling away, crush the shells with the end of a rolling pin to release all their flavour into the liquid. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then pour back through the colander into the bowl.
- Heat the rest of the butter in a pan, add the onion and bacon, then cook gently until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the potato and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the flour, then add the milk, cream and remaining bay leaves, and strain in the flavoured liquid using a fine sieve to remove any small pieces of shell. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the potato is tender.
- Stir in the langoustines and shelled mussels, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle into warmed soup plates. Garnish with a mussel in the shell and the herb celery. Sprinkle with the crumbled water biscuits, if you like, then serve.
I’ve used raw langoustines because the flavour is so much better, but they can be hard to get. You could use good-quality, shell-on frozen scampi instead, because they are, in fact, the same thing. Add them to the soup 2-3 minutes before.
If you can’t find herb celery (also known as leaf celery or wild celery), use the pale green leaves from the top of some celery stalks, chopped. They have a similar flavour.
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