Falling somewhere between a classic chowder and moules mariniere, this is easy to make, has bags of flavour and flies off the menu at the pub. Apologies if the photo is not up to scratch, it was taken on an iphone straight off the pass! For 2:
Onion, Potato and Carrot - 1 of each, medium sized, peeled and finely diced
Celery - 2 sticks, finely diced
Leek - 1 medium, well washed, finely diced
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Flour - 1 desert spoon
Butter - 50g
Milk - 200ml
Cream - 100ml
Tarragon - leaves picked from stems, 1 tbsp, chopped
White Wine - 100ml
Undyed, naturally smoked haddock - 200g, skinned, pin boed and roughly chopped
Mussels - 800g, cleaned
Gently sweat in the butter (without colouring) the onion, carrot, celery, leek, potato and garlic. When the veg begins to soften, add the wine and bubble away to almost nothing. Add the flour and mix well. Now add the milk, cream and smoked haddock and bring to a gentle simmer - the sauce, when thickened, has a tendency to catch on the bottom of the pan so control your heat and stir regularly. When the carrot is soft and the potato beginning to break down, toss in the mussels and simmer gently until all the mussels have opened. Stir regularly.
The mussels will add their juice to the sauce so the consistency should be right but if it looks too thick, add a little more milk or cream - you want a thick soupy broth. Season well and toss in the tarragon just before serving. Serve with good crusty bread and butter to mop up the juices.