Orange juice, saffron and white wine combine in a heady broth for this mussel soup. It can be made in advance and gently reheated just before serving.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook


Recipe Summary

45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer over high heat. Cut an "x" in the bottom of each tomato. Plunge the tomatoes into the simmering water. When the skins split, remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel, seed and dice the tomatoes. Set aside.

  • Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until light golden, about 30 seconds. Add leeks, carrots and onions; sauté until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add wine, bay leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, pepper and water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.

  • Stir in mussels, increase heat to medium-high and return to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for five minutes, shaking the pan several times to distribute the mussels. Transfer all the opened mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Continue to cook any unopened mussels for two more minutes. Remove the remaining mussels, discarding any that do not open.

  • When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells, working over a bowl to collect their juices. Pull off and discard the dark rubbery rims; set the mussels aside. Strain the accumulated juices and the cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract all the liquid. Return the liquid to the pot and add orange juice, parsley, orange zest, saffron and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add the reserved tomatoes and mussels and heat gently, not allowing the soup to boil.


To make ahead: Prepare through Step 4 up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate the broth, tomatoes and mussels in separate containers.

Tip: To clean & debeard mussels: Use a stiff brush to scrub mussels under running water. Discard any with broken shells or any whose shells remain open after you tap them lightly. Scrape off any barnacles; pull off the black fibrous “beard”.

Note: Literally the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Over 75,000 flowers are required for each pound of saffron. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. It's used sparingly to add golden yellow color and flavor to a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods. Find it in the specialty-herb section of large supermarkets, gourmet-food shops and Wrapped in foil and placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid, it will keep in a cool, dry place for several years.

Nutrition Facts

generous 1 cup
319 calories; protein 20g; carbohydrates 25g; dietary fiber 3g; sugars 8.7g; fat 8.6g; saturated fat 2.4g; cholesterol 48mg; vitamin a iu 5440.7IU; vitamin c 44.1mg; folate 115.1mcg; calcium 93.8mg; iron 6.9mg; magnesium 65.4mg; potassium 648.2mg; sodium 459.7mg; thiamin 0.3mg.

2 1/2 lean protein, 2 1/2 vegetable, 1 fat