Mussel Saffron Soup

I really like cooking with mussels because you can get that real seafood experience  without the usual hassles of removing fish bones and skin. And it only takes about 5 minutes to cook the mussels on the stove top- full of flavor but so easy to make!

Living in South Australia for part of the year, I’m lucky to have access to wonderful mussels and oysters from the Port Lincoln area, located on the Boston Bay.

Boston Bay, South Australia

Boston Bay

Boston Bay Mussels

Mussels are ‘filter-feeders’, which means they filter organic matter from the surrounding sea waters. They are very high in iron, protein and omega 3 vitamins. Most mussel recipes caution you to discard any mussels whose shells have not opened after cooking. ‘Murray the Mussel‘ from this little video clip shows you this is a myth!


My recipe for Mussel Saffron Soup has a white wine and chicken stock base, flavored with a bit of curry powder and saffron. Mussel broth can become quite salty, so I use some cream to cut the salty taste. Garnished with some chopped parsley, this makes a quick tasty dish for lunch or dinner!

Mussel Saffron Soup
Serves 3
Tender mussels served in a slightly spiced white wine broth.
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Cooking liquid for the mussels
  1. 1 kg (2.2 lbs) mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  2. Olive oil/butter
  3. 2 shallots, finely chopped
  4. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  5. 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  6. 1 leek, white part- chopped
  7. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  8. Thyme/bay leaf
  9. 1 tsp curry powder
  10. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  11. 3 cups dry white wine
  12. 2 cups fish or chicken stock
Thickening and finish
  1. ½ cup thickened cream
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. Saffron threads- a ‘pinch’
  4. Chopped parsley
  1. Soften the shallots, garlic, celery and leeks in a little oil and butter on the stovetop.
  2. Add the tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, curry powder and cayenne powder, white wine and stock. Add the cleaned mussels, place the lid on the saucepan and cook several minutes until the mussel shells open.
  3. Remove the mussels from the pan. Pass the remaining liquid broth through a strainer.
  4. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the saffron threads. Combine the egg yolks with the cream in a separate small bowl, then gradually stir the mixture into the broth to thicken. Pass through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Remove the meat from the mussels, retaining some in their shells to garnish the soup. To plate, place the mussel meat on the bottom of a serving bowl, cover with the hot broth and garnish with several mussels in their shells. Garnish with some finely chopped parsley.
G'day Soufflé

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  • Joanne T Ferguson
    July 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Your soup looks warm and welcoming in this Adelaide weather Fran! And here it was me thinking the mussels were flown in from Boston! lol See what food does to me! lol

  • Adam Zavell
    July 5, 2016 at 4:25 am

    These mussels look amazing and that broth looks divine! I never knew that the unopened shell thing was a myth! What about mussels that have already opened before you cook them? Those are said to be dead.

    • Fran
      July 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Adam, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I agree with you- the mussels that are open before you cook them would already be dead and therefore should be discarded. The mussels that I buy are usually already cleaned and in a vacuum-pack bag, so the mussels are usually still alive and firmly closed.
      Fran recently posted…Mussel Saffron SoupMy Profile

      • Adam Zavell
        July 19, 2016 at 12:43 pm

        Thanks for coming by my blog as well! I didn’t know they could be vaccuum sealed. We keep them on ice with a drip pan at work and were always told not to wrap them with plastic wrap because they’ll suffocate. Maybe that’s a myth too I wonder… Mussells are quite fascinating buggers aren’t they? haha
        Adam Zavell recently posted…Brazilian Flair: BatuquiMy Profile

  • John/Kitchen Riffs
    July 5, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Mussels taste wonderful, and they are one of the more sustainable sea foods. Love them with saffron, and haven’t had this combo in ages. Probably the last time was a paella. Great dish, and loved the video. Thanks!
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…Rum Shrub CocktailMy Profile

  • All That I'm Eating
    July 5, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    What a great way to make the most of mussels, really like the sound of the added saffron.
    All That I’m Eating recently posted…North Cornwall Coast Road TripMy Profile

    • Fran
      July 9, 2016 at 7:10 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog- I’m going to have a look at your blog now!
      Fran recently posted…Mussel Saffron SoupMy Profile

  • Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop
    July 7, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I love mussels, but I have not ever cooked them myself. I think I need to give them a try.
    Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop recently posted…Cheddar Chive BiscuitsMy Profile

    • Fran
      July 9, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Yes, I hope you do give them a try. You’ll be surprized at how easy they are to make!
      Fran recently posted…Mussel Saffron SoupMy Profile

  • Kim | Low Carb Maven
    July 9, 2016 at 5:29 am

    That video was hilarious, thanks for sharing it. Fran, this dish sounds classically amazing! I saw the photo on Foodgawker and had to click because it was so beautiful. I have never cooked mussels, but saw some in the store the other day. I may have to give this a try. Beautiful!
    Kim | Low Carb Maven recently posted…Low Carb Bundt Cake with Lemon GlazeMy Profile

    • Fran
      July 9, 2016 at 7:12 am

      What a nice comment, Kim. Thanks so much!
      Fran recently posted…Mussel Saffron SoupMy Profile