“There is food that gives a healthy body, and food that gives a healthy soul. Between cream, bacon and butter, this recipe definitely falls into the latter category,” said Michael Mormino, regional development manager for Whole Foods Market. It was relatively easy for Mormino to provide a recipe for home use because the store kitchens use the same ingredients they sell on the market, such as unbleached and unbrominated flour and naturally salted bacon. The mussel soup is available in pints and liters in Whole Foods’ cooling soups. When the weather gets cold, it is often served at the hot soup bar. If you want a stronger mussel flavor, double the amount of mussels.
Hands on: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 6 (makes about 2 liters)
1/2 pound peeled potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 medium to large potato)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 to 4 strips of raw, naturally salted bacon, finely chopped
1 small or medium-sized onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon universal flour
2 cups mussel juice
1 (6.5 ounce) canned chopped mussels, drained (reserve liquid)
2 cups milk
11/4 cups heavy cream
1 bay leaf
Tabasco to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper to taste
Put potatoes and salt in a small saucepan and add water so that it covers. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are completely cooked but still firm, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
While the potatoes are boiling, heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add bacon and sauté until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces, drain and set aside. Add onions and fry over low heat until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add butter, let it melt, then add flour. Stir constantly for 2 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken.
Stir in mussel juice, reserved mussel liquid, milk, cream, boiled bacon and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook covered for 20 minutes. Add mussels and potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes to heat it all through. Season with Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice starting with about 1/2 teaspoon of each. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving.
French onion soup
Hands on: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
This classic soup is easier to make than you think and perfect for a winter day lunch.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 onions, cut into thin slices
3 shallots, chopped
8 cups beef or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
A baquette, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and shallots and fry gently, sweating them without lids on low heat for approx. 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to high and brown the onions without a lid for about 5 minutes. Add broth, thyme and sherry and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Roast the bread slices in the oven until lightly browned, but not too hard. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to frying. Place the onion mixture in a terrine or ovenproof soup dish (or individual jars).
Float the toasted bread slices over the soup and cover with grated cheese.
Put in the oven and fry until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 512 calories (percentage of calories from fat, 52), 29 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 28 grams of fat (17 grams saturated), 83 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,992 milligrams of sodium.