A pottage is a thickened, substantial cross between a soup and a stew. I was drawn to this recipe by the lazy cook in me that is always looking for a simpler, easier way to achieve tasty food.
When this recipe was jotted down three hundred years ago, it would have been quite hard work to prepare: collecting the mussels, cleaning them, steaming them, straining the sand from the broth, etc.
Luckily for us, we have the luxury of buying what someone else has collected and cleaned, and also cooked. Whilst you can certainly buy fresh mussels in their shells and prepare them yourself, cooked mussels and prepared fish stock can bring this dish together in just minutes. I’ve been rather specific with the number of mussels, however you should feel free to increase this quantity with abandon, if so inclined.
500ml fish stock
4 slices of white bread, crusts removed
2 blades mace
½ tsp ground allspice
3 large yolks
1tbs anchovy sauce
32 cooked mussels
2tbs chopped parsley to serve
- Put the stock, water, bread, spices and anchovy sauce into a pan and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, fish out the mace and purée with a stick blender.
- Mix the cream, anchovy sauce and the yolks together and whisk into the soup.
- Set aside 12 mussels for garnish and add the remainder to the soup. Warm gently.
- When ready to serve, melt the butter in a pan and when hot, quickly toss the mussels set aside for garnish in the hot butter for about a minute, to heat through .
- Serve garnished with the fried mussels and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.