Cream of Cilantro Soup with Mussels Recipe

Cream of Cilantro Soup with Mussels Recipe image by


The contrast of the creamy soup with the fresh taste and bright green color of the cilantro and chilies makes this soup a stunning addition to any dinner. The soup can be made a few hours in advance up to the addition of the cilantro purée. That should be done immediately before serving.

To make the purée: Place all purée ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until it is a thick, smooth purée, adding more fish stock if necessary. Set aside.

To make the soup: Scrub the mussels and trim off the beards with a sharp paring knife. Soak the mussels for 1 hour in cold water in which the cornmeal is mixed. Drain and rinse them.

Place the mussels in a saucepan with the fish stock. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Steam the mussels until the shells open, about 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Do not overcook; discard any mussels that do not open. Remove the mussels from the pan, reserving the liquid, and remove the mussels from their shells, reserving 8 of the best shells for garnish. Set the mussels aside.

Boil the mussel liquid to reduce by one-third, then strain it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and return it to the pot. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce slightly. Stir in the cilantro purée and cook about 30 seconds; season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Divide the mussels among warmed soup bowls. Ladle soup around the mussels until they are almost covered. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of ancho chili preserves in a reserved mussel shell and a few cilantro leaves.

Ancho Chili Preserves: Wash the ancho chilies and soak them in hot water until soft, about 15 minutes. Discard the stems, shake out the seeds and purée the chilies with the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pass the purée through a sieve. The preserves may be kept up to 2 months in the refrigerator.

Robert Del Grande
Cafe Annie- Houston, TX
Series- West #4

Chef Del Grande is featured in this cookbook:

Hardbound- $19.95
Softbound- $14.95

Available from Great Chefs Television

Recipe reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2003 Great Chefs, Inc. All rights reserved.

Things You'll Need

  • Purée
  • 2bunches cilantro, cleaned and stemmed
  • 1bunch parsley, cleaned and stemmed
  • 1/3cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 serrano chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1cup fish stock or water
  • Soup
  • 40 mussels
  • 1/4cup cornmeal
  • 2cups fish stock
  • 2-1/2cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 to 1-1/2cups cilantro purée (see above)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Ancho Chili Preserves (Makes 2 cups)
  • 2pounds dried ancho chilies
  • 3/4cup red currant jelly
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4cup honey
  • 3tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Garnish
  • 2sprigs cilantro

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