Creamy Mussel Chowder

"This makes a great lunch for friends, and is always popular with the family for weekends. In cool weather it seems even better than usual. Preparing the mussels is very simple but does take a few minutes; however, this is well worth it as they are such incredibly good value."
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  • Boil 2 cups of water in a large pot, then add a third of the washed mussels, cover and heat until shells open 5mm, then lift promptly, with tongs, into a large bowl. Repeat until all mussels have opened.
  • Save the liquid.
  • Cut onion(s) in 1cm cubes.
  • Heat the oil in a covered non-stick pan, then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
  • Chop the carrot, celery and potato into similar sized cubes and add them to the pan.
  • Strain the mussel cooking liquid into the pan of vegetables and simmer until vegetables are tender.
  • Take the mussels from shells, discarding beards.
  • Cut the mussels in 1cm cubes, saving any liquid, and put aside.
  • Melt the butter in the cleaned mussel pot, then stir in the flour. Add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring or whisking constantly, then add the stock and boil again, still stirring.
  • Take off the heat.
  • Add the cooked vegetables and their cooking liquid and season carefully to taste.
  • Cool, then refrigerate up to 24 hours if necessary.
  • When ready to serve, heat, stirring constantly, until very hot.
  • Add two thirds of the mussels and any liquid, then pour into large bowls. Top with remaining mussels and chopped parsley or dill if desired and serve with hot rolls, garlic bread, crackers or toast.

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Based in Whangarei NZ. My favourite recipe book is by a two NZers, Alison and Simon Holst Meals without Meat. This book is my all time stand by for healthy inexpensive meals. I wouldn't be without it. I love cooking and look forward to preparing meals each evening.
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