Mus­sels with leek & saf­fron

Take a break from tra­di­tional flavours over the hol­i­days with Diana’s crowd-pleas­ing din­ner party menu

BBC Good Food - - Instant Recipe Finder - Pho­to­graph TOBY SCOTT

Bri­tish food dom­i­nates at Christ­mas as most peo­ple still cook what’s ex­pected on 25 De­cem­ber, so I en­joy mak­ing dishes from else­where in the run-up. This meal is Span­ish and doesn’t take that much ef­fort (ex­cept for the ice cream). Be­cause Span­ish rice dishes – known as ar­ro­ces secos – must not be stirred, they re­quire very lit­tle at­ten­tion. Leave them on the hob or in the oven and they pretty much look af­ter them­selves.

Ice cream for dessert might seem odd – a cold dish in a cold sea­son – but it’s re­ally rich and com­fort­ing be­cause of the roast pears. And, of course, this meal isn’t just for Christ­mas. Keep the recipes and they’ll make a great sup­per party un­til the end of March.

Mus­sels with leeks & saf­fron

If you aren’t keen on saf­fron, you can al­ter this dish slightly by leav­ing it out and adding some sautéed chorizo in­stead (you should add about 110g, chopped and cooked in olive oil). That will give you a gen­tle smoky flavour.


3kg mus­sels

2 tbsp ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

2 leeks, trimmed, cut into rings and washed well

2 gar­lic cloves, finely chopped

a few pars­ley sprigs, some thyme and a few bay leaves, tied to­gether to make a bou­quet garni 400ml dry sherry

100ml dry white wine big pinch of saf­fron

200ml dou­ble cream

1 tbsp flat-leaf pars­ley, finely chopped

1 Wash the mus­sels in a sink of cold wa­ter, re­mov­ing any lit­tle beards and scrub­bing any bar­na­cles. Tap each one on the side of the sink – if the mus­sel doesn’t close tightly, dis­card it (also dis­card any with bro­ken shells). Put the mus­sels in a colan­der (in batches) and rinse re­ally well un­der cold run­ning wa­ter.

2 Heat the oil in a large pan (or two pans if you don’t have one big enough to take all the mus­sels). Sauté the leeks for 8-10 mins un­til soft­en­ing, then add the gar­lic and cook for an­other few mins. Add the bou­quet garni, pour over the sherry and wine, sprin­kle over the saf­fron and bring to just un­der the boil. Stir to help the saf­fron flavour the wine.

3 Turn the heat down to medi­um­low, add the mus­sels and stir. Cover the pan and al­low the mus­sels to cook un­til they open, shak­ing the pan a few times, about 4 mins. Re­move the bou­quet garni. Add the cream, stir and heat through. Taste for sea­son­ing (mus­sels are al­ways pretty salty, so you shouldn’t need to add any­thing). Scat­ter over the pars­ley, then trans­fer the mus­sels to a big warm serv­ing dish or serve them straight from the pan.

GOOD TO KNOW iron • gluten free

PER SERV­ING 339 kcals • fat 20g • sat­u­rates 10g • carbs 2g • sug­ars 2g • fi­bre 1g • pro­tein 20g • salt 1.1g

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