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    Karma Soupra

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    Karma Soupra

    It’s especially romantic to cook for your lover on St Valentine’s Day if you’re not the regular cook. This bowl of loveliness is built for the purpose – easy, quick and layered with symbolic ingredients: shallots and garlic for a suitably Gallic base; saffron for some exotic finery; brown rice for long, slow energy release; chilli to light the fire and, well, mussels are just plain rude.

    • Preparation time: 80 minutes
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours 60 minutes 60 minutes

    Serves: 2

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 350g mussels, de-bearded
    • 2½ tbsp brown basmati rice
    • 30 g unsalted butter
    • 100g Echalion (banana) shallots, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic cloves
    • ½ red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
    • 1 celery sticks
    • a few thyme sprigs, tied with string
    • 175 ml white wine
    • 1 pinches saffron threads
    • 1 litre fish stock
    • ½ lemon juice, to taste

    Method

    1. First, soak the rice in cold water for an hour or so, just to get it swelling.
    2. Gently heat the butter in a pan until it starts to fizzle, then toss in the shallots, garlic, chilli, celery and bundle of thyme sprigs. Put a lid on the pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; don’t let it brown.
    3. Drain the rice and tip it in, making sure it gets a good coating of butter, then add the wine and saffron and cook until all the liquid has gone. Pour on the fish stock and bring up to quite an aggressive simmer, uncovered, so it is reducing as the rice cooks. After about 20 minutes, once the grains are done, tip in the mussels (discard any that are damaged or do not close when sharply tapped). Put the lid on, and, holding on to the pan and the lid, give everything a firm but gentle swirl around. Don’t peek for about 3 minutes, by which time the mussels should have opened.
    4. Season and finish with the lemon juice. Serve in shallow bowls, scattered with the parsley.

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    Drinks recommendation

    This deliciously crisp muscadet is a great match for mussels. Waitrose Muscadet 2007 de Sevre et Maine, Lois, France.

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