Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
• 200 ml lager
• 5 ml finely chopped fennel leaves
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 black peppercorns
• 500 g black mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
• 15 ml olive oil
• 2 smoked pork steaks, cubed
• 2 large onions, finely chopped
• 1 whole clove of garlic (optional)
• 15 ml flour
• 750 ml hot milk
• 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 200 g firm white fish, cubed
• 12 cooked prawns, peeled (optional)
• 200 ml cream • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 Heat the beer, fennel, bay leaf and peppercorns in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, cover and steam for about 2–3 minutes or until the mussels open. Pour through a colander and reserve the beer separately from the mussels. Discard any mussels that don’t open.
2 Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot and fry the pork until golden brown and cooked. Remove and fry the onion and garlic slowly in the same pot until glossy (at least 5 minutes).
3 Discard the garlic, stir in the flour and fry; whisk in the milk as you would with a white sauce. Add the potatoes and simmer slowly until the potato is soft (about 15 minutes).
4 Add the reserved beer and fish, and simmer for 3 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Remove half the mussels from their shells (leave the others in their shells to add interest to the dish; you can discard all of them if you prefer), and stir into the soup along with the prawns and pork. Stir in a dash or all of the cream and heat through, but don’t boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately with fresh bread.