Friday, March 9, 2012

Potato, Leek and Mussel Soup and My Beginnings In Food

Here is another installment in my Irish themed foods for the month of March. This would be a great soup for a Friday in Lent.

According to Wikipedia  The Kish Bank (Irish: Banc na Cise)[1] is a shallow sand bank about seven miles (11 km) off the coast of Dublin, in Ireland. It is marked by the Kish Lighthouse,[2] a landmark well known to sailors and ferry passengers passing through Dublin Bay and DĂșn Laoghaire harbour.
At one time it was very abundant in seafood and was an appropriate name for a seafood restaurant. “The Kish” was one of the restaurants in Jury’s Hotel, Dublin were I started my training at the ripe age of sixteen. There was always a bit of competition to work there as it was where you could learn the most in the least amount of time. It also had the added advantage of having four ten hour shifts in a week and as I was in school one day a week I could still have two days off.

This was one of the soups they served and was probably the first seafood soup I ever made and I will always remember how delicious it was. This was made as best I could remember as it was a long time ago.

Essentially you can use any Leek and Potato soup recipe and steam your mussels in a little white wine and strain the cooking liquor through a fine sieve into your soup. Take mussels from shells and use the to garnish your soup. I used a small amount of hot sauce on top just for a splash of color.
Potato, Leek and Mussel Soup
  • 8 Medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 3 cups seafood broth/stock (substitute clam juice if easier to find)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Melt butter in large pan and cook leeks in butter over low heat till soften.
Add potatoes and liquid to pot and bring to simmer. Cover and cook till potatoes are fully cooked.
  • 2lbs Mussels
  • 1 cup of White Wine
Place Mussels and Wine in pot cover and cook over a medium heat till all Mussels have fully opened. Strain liquid through a fine strainer and add into potatoes. Add heavy cream bring mixture back to slow boil. Place into blender and blend till smooth. At this stage taste and add salt and pepper. Be sure to taste before adding salt as it may not need any.
Meanwhile remove mussels from there shells being sure to discard any that have not fully opened. Divide mussels between warmed soup bowls and ladle in soup.

If you are ever in Ireland I have to recommend a Dublin Food Tour I took on a recent visit. Click the image below to see more photos and info from that fun trip.