Fabulous French Mussel Soup Recipe

Enjoy this easy cream of mussel soup anytime

We first enjoyed this fabulous Mussel Soup at a friend's home in France, after a long afternoon of exploring medieval ruins.  She threw it together, along with an omelet and green salad, in about 15 minutes for a delicious but easy dinner.

We've made this delicious French Mussel Soup at home ever since.  Once you try it, you may like it even better than American clam chowder!

Best of all, you can make this cream of mussel soup fast, but it's so elegant that your family and friends will rave about how you're a great cook. 

What makes this French soup so delicious?  Hmm...with fresh mussels, chopped veggies, cream, saffron, and white wine, you can't go wrong!

French mussel soup recipe

Serves 4 as a hearty starter or first course.  To serve as a main course, just double the recipe.

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2-3 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large shallot, chopped into small pieces (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk, in a small bowl
  • Salt, to taste

Put the mussels and wine into a wide soup pot or sauce pan, and cover.  Bring the wine to a boil over medium heat.  Shake the pot periodically to redistribute the mussels as they cook.  After about 3 minutes, check to see if any are open - if so, take them out, and continue cooking and checking until all are open.  Throw away any that don't open.  (Read more about how to cook mussels.)

Remove the mussels from their shells.  Add any liquid from the mussels to the pot.  Strain the wine-mussel broth (use a fine-mesh sieve, a couple of layers of cheesecloth in a colander, or even a coffee filter) to remove any bits of sand from the mussels.  Set aside the broth.

Add the butter, olive oil, shallot, carrots, celery, saffron, and cayenne to a sauce pan, and saute over low heat for 4-5 minutes until the veggies are tender but not brown.

Add the strained broth and cream to the pot with the veggies, and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Remove about a cup of the hot liquid and whisk it into the egg yolk until smooth. 

Pour the egg yolk mixture back to the pot, and whisk briefly to blend it.  Heat for just a moment, not quite to a simmer, stirring fairly constantly.  The egg yolk will slightly thicken the broth. 

Add the mussels and heat through.  Taste the broth, and add a little salt if you want.

Serving suggestions

We usually copy our friend, and serve this delicious French mussel soup with slices of crusty bread, a simple cheese omelet, a green salad, and an apple tart for dessert.  It always brings back wonderful memories of friendship and France.

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