Hot Mussel Soup

This clean-tasting herby broth has plenty of aromatic flavours for a winter warming treat
By Nigel Slater
Hot Mussel Soup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 kg mussels, in their shells
  • 800 ml light chicken stock, vegetable stock
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • sea salt
  • sugar
  • 1 handfuls coriander leaves


1. Scrub the mussels thoroughly, tug out any of the fibrous 'beards' that may be hanging from their shells and discard any that are broken or open. I always squeeze each mussel hard, pushing the shells together tightly to check they have some life in them. Any that refuse to close when squeezed or tapped on the side of the sink, or any that seem light for their size, should be discarded.

2. Tip the mussels into a large, heavy pot over a high flame and add a splash of water. Cover them tightly with a lid and let them steam for a minute or two, until their shells are just open and the mussels are quivering and juicy. Remove them from the heat the second they are ready.

3. Bring the stock to the boil. Cut the chilli in half, remove its seeds and chop the flesh very finely, then put it in with the stock, together with the lime juice, a pinch of salt and the same of sugar. Turn the stock down to a simmer.

4. Remove the mussels from their cooking liquor, pull the flesh
from the shells and drop it into the pan of stock, with a little of the mussel juices. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and stir them into the hot soup.

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