Mussel Brose by Shirley Spear

This is one of the best times of the year for all Scottish shellfish, particularly fresh mussels. Mussel Brose, thickened with a little medium oatmeal, was a huge favourite at The Three Chimneys for many years.

For cooking the mussels:
2kg mussels, wash and de-beard in cold running water, discard any that are cracked or open
50g unsalted Scottish butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
300ml dry white wine
200ml water
For making the brose:
500g potatoes (weighed when peeled) choose a floury variety 
1 medium onion
1 small leek
2 sticks of celery including leaves 
2 fat cloves of garlic
50g slightly salted butter
1 rounded tbsp. medium oatmeal
150ml single cream, plus equivalent amount of water
Freshly ground salt, black pepper, chopped chives and parsley, to finish

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1 Give the mussels a final rinse through in fresh water before cooking.
2 Melt butter in large lidded pan. Soften onion and garlic until translucent. Stir in parsley and pepper. Pour in wine and water and boil.
3 Add mussels, cover and simmer until they mussels have steamed opened. Give the pan a shake once or twice during the steaming process.
4 Stand the colander in a bowl. Place the mussels into the colander. Leave to drain.
5 Ladle cooking liquor into a jug through a fine sieve. Add any liquid from the bowl underneath the colander.
6 For the brose, finely chop the onions, celery, garlic and leek. Dice potatoes into small cubes.
7 Melt butter until hot and foamy. Soften the onion, celery and leek until translucent. Add potatoes. Allow to cook gently for five minutes.
8 Pour in strained mussel liquor and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Liquidise at this stage, or leave to serve as a chunky version.
9 Add the oatmeal and simmer for five minutes.  
10 Remove the mussels from their shells and reserve. Retain a few whole for garnish. 
11 Stir in the shelled mussels, parsley, chives and pepper.  
12 Stir in cream and fill the empty carton with cold water and pour that in too. Reheat and check thickness and seasoning. Salt shouldn’t be necessary. Add more hot water if too thick.
13 Serve hot with whole mussels placed on top for garnish and a pinch of chives on top.

In association with Taste Communications.