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Provencal Soup with Mussels - Soupe de Moules

Provencal Mussel Soup - La Soupe de Moules

Like most soup recipes this one is not complicated. You can make the rouille in advance to save some time. Enjoy as a first course or as a light lunch.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Soup
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 6 people


Ingredients for the Soup:

  • 2 kg (4.4 lbs) Mussels
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 tbsp Dried Fennel or a large dried fennel branch
  • olive oil
  • 1 g (1/2 tsp) Saffron
  • Salt and White pepper

Ingredients for the Rouille:

  • 1 piece Stale Bread soaked in milk
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 200 ml (6.5 oz) olive oil
  • a pinch of Cayenne Pepper Powder

For the Topping:

  • 1 French "ficelle" (thin baguette bread)
  • 150 g (5.5 oz) Grated Cheese


Preparation of the Soup:

  • Wash the mussels very well with water and remove any barnacles.
  • In a large cooking pot, put the mussels in water and heat. Wait until they open and stop the heat. Be careful not to overcook the mussels. Take the mussels out, remove shells and set aside.
  • Keep the cooking water.
  • Chop the onion, leeks and garlic. Saute onion and leek in olive oil in a pan with high edges. Reduce the heat.
  • Add tomato paste and garlic, and stir. Wet the mixture with the reserved cooking water from the mussels, add fennel, bay leaf, and a pinch of saffron, season (not to much salt) and bring to boil.
  • Meanwhile, chop a handful of mussels and add them to the broth. Allow the soup to absorb the flavour and aroma from the mussels (about 10 minutes).

Preparation of the rouille:

  • Remove the bread from the soaking liquid and discard the milk.
  • Tear the bread into large pieces and pound with a garlic clove in a mortar with a pestle until you get a paste.
  • Stir in egg yolk, then add some olive oil, stirring constantly to build the rouille.
  • Add more olive oil, then add 200ml (6.5 oz) of the mussel soup and stir again.
  • When the paste becomes the consistency of a mayonnaise, season with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper powder.

Serving Presentation:

  • Slice the bread into thin rounds, rub with garlic and grill lightly to create crostini.
  • Pour the soup into a soup tureen after placing the rest of the mussels. Serve in soup plates.
  • Put the grilled croutons rubbed with garlic, rouille and grated cheese in separate bowls. Each guest may add croutons, rouille and cheese to their taste.
Keyword Mussels, Soups
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