Squash and Mussels Soup

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Basic techniques needed: How to steam mussels

INGREDIENTS
800 g Pumpkin or squash
600g Mussels
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 Anchovy fillets
3 Garlic cloves, minced
White wine (optional)
1 tbsp Tomato paste

Chives, finely chopped, to sprinkle

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I got inspiration for this recipe from a TV program, that was showing a soup made with cubed pumpkin, mussels and other spices. I immediately liked the idea of combining the sweetness of pumpkin (or squash, if pumpkin is not in season), with the saltiness of mussels.
Unlike the recipe I saw, I do not add spices (just anchovy fillets and tomato paste, that are natural flavour enhancers, and the tomato will also give a more vivid colour) as I like the flavour of the main ingredients to stand out, and I blend the cooked pumpkin to have a smoother texture (otherwise you can mash it with a potato masher if you like it more chunky).

  1. Trim and de-seed the squash, and cut it in cubes (about 1/2 inch side)
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  2. Steam the mussel as in How to steam mussels , preserving their liquid
  3. Sweat the onion in 2 tbsp. olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and anchovy fillets, and cook on low heat until the anchovy has dissolved into the oil
  4. Add the cubed squash and cover with cold water (or a light fish stock if using it)
  5. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer, and the liquid from the mussels and the tomato paste
  6. When the squash is soft and cooked through, blend it with a hand blender (or mash it with a potato masher).
  7. Taste it and season with salt if needed
  8. Add the mussels: when you do it, I suggest that you shell about 3/4 of them and leave only the remaining 1/4 in the shell; by doing that, it will be easier to eat the soup without getting too many shells in your plate but you will still keep some whole mussels for colour and presentation purposes.
  9. Serve in bowls or deep plates, sprinkling with finely chopped chives

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