Potato Soup with Mussels and Leeks

It’s been very cold all over most of the country- even down here in the South. What’s better than a hot bowl of comforting soup during these cold, frigid months? I can’t think of anything else. You will love this classic German recipe I learned in culinary school. The potatoes, leek and mussels compliment each other so well with a burst of flavors.

This is a speedy soup recipe taking no longer than half an hour which is perfect for those busy weeknights. I recommend making a large batch, freezing half of it, and pulling it out whenever you need an extra feeling of warmth run throughout your body. I love the extra heat from the pinch of cayenne pepper. I was so excited when I heard we would learn and prepare some classic German recipes in school. My mom is from Germany and having visited there several times, I love the food and way of life all over Europe. In German this soup is called Kartoffelsuppe mit Miesmuscheln und Lauch… easy to pronounce, right?!

For this recipe you will need:

2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces and cooked

1 large leek, white and green cuts thinly sliced

2 cups mussels, rinsed and beards removed

1 shallot, minced

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup cold water

1 cup dry white wine

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


White Pepper

Special equipment needed:

Medium sauce pot with lid

1 sieve or strainer

Food mill or ricer

I would recommend getting all of your vegetables cut and prepped before beginning this process because once it starts, it is just a matter of throwing in ingredients one after the other. ‘Mise en place’ is an important term we learned the first day of school and continue to hear every day. It means “everything in it’s place” and it is how any organized cook prepares a successful dish. So, once you are prepped and ready to go, begin by boiling your potatoes until tender. Then, in a medium sauce pot, suer (sweat) the shallots in the butter until translucent and tender over medium-low heat. Then, add the white wine and mussels and crank up the heat to medium-high and cover with a lid. Shake the pot for 30-60 seconds until the mussels have opened their shells from the steam. Strain the au jus from the shallots and mussels into another sauce pot.  Reserve the mussels.

Next, add the cold water and thinly sliced leeks in with the au jus. Let that come to a simmer for about 5 minutes so the leeks become tender. In the meantime, run the cooked potatoes through the ricer or food mill until they are pureed. Slowly add the pureed potatoes to the soup, whisking after adding 1/3 of the amount each time. If the soup appears to be too thick, stop adding the potato and add more water to thin it out. Take the meat out of mussel shells and add to the soup. Bring everything to an even simmer and season to taste with the cayenne, salt and white pepper. Garnish with mussel shells and voila!

I hope you love this warm, comforting soup as much as I do!

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