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Donegal Mussel Soup

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  Mussels 36
  Butter 1 1⁄2 Ounce (40 Gram)
  Shallots 2 , finely chopped
  Parsley 1 Tablespoon, freshly chopped
  Thyme 1 Teaspoon, freshly chopped
  Bay leaf 1
  Salt To Taste
  Black pepper To Taste
  Cider 6 Fluid Ounce (175 Milliliter)
  Leek 1 Large, thinly sliced
  Stalk celery 1 , chopped
  Flour 4 Tablespoon
  Milk 1 Pint, scalded (600 Milliliter)
  Fish stock 1 Pint, warmed (600 Milliliter)
  Fennel sprigs 3 , freshly chopped
  Grated nutmeg 1 Teaspoon
  Double cream 5 Fluid Ounce (150 Milliliter)

Scrub the mussels and scrape off the beards.
Discard any mussels that are not tightly shut or any that seem too heavy as they may be full of sand.
Leave to soak in cold water for 2 hours, then wash and drain again.
Grease a large saucepan with 15 g/1/2 oz of the butter.
Sprinkle the shallots over the bottom and add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf.
Arrange the mussels on top and season with pepper.
Pour in the cider.
Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
Remove from the heat.
Take the mussels out of the pan, discarding any which are still closed.
Remove the meat from the shells, discarding the shells.
Strain the cooking liquid and reserve.
Melt the remaining butter in the cleaned-out saucepan.
Add the leek and celery and fry until lightly browned.
Sprinkle over the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and stir in the milk and fish stock.
Return to the heat and simmer, stirring, until thickened.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into another saucepan.
Stir in the reserved mussel cooking liquid, the fennel, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Add the mussels and cream and stir well.
Heat through gently without boiling.
Serve hot.

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Donegal Mussel Soup Recipe