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Mussel Soup From the Scottish Shetlands! A How Too Guide
Mussel Soup From the Scottish Shetlands! A How Too Guide

Mussel Soup From the Scottish Shetlands! A How Too Guide

Mussel Soup

Introduction and History!

Shetland Mussel Soup is a traditional dish that originates from the Shetland Islands, a remote archipelago located in the northernmost part of Scotland. The Shetland Islands are known for their pristine waters and abundant seafood, making them an ideal location for harvesting fresh and flavorful mussels.

The history of Shetland Mussel Soup can be traced back to the centuries-old tradition of fishing and gathering seafood in the region. Mussels have been a staple food source for the islanders for generations, and the soup has evolved as a way to highlight the natural flavors of the locally harvested mussels.

This soup not only showcases the abundance of fresh seafood but also incorporates traditional Scottish ingredients such as onions, carrots, celery, and leeks. The combination of these ingredients, along with the fish or vegetable stock and the creamy richness of heavy cream, creates a flavorful and comforting soup.

Shetland Mussel Soup is a reflection of the Shetland Islands’ maritime heritage and the close relationship between the islanders and the sea. The dish is often enjoyed during colder months when the rich and warming flavors provide comfort and nourishment.

Today, Shetland Mussel Soup continues to be a popular and beloved dish both in the Shetland Islands and beyond. It has gained recognition for its simplicity, freshness, and the way it celebrates the bountiful seafood that the region has to offer.

Whether enjoyed by the locals or served to visitors exploring the islands, Shetland Mussel Soup remains a cherished culinary tradition that represents the unique flavors and culinary heritage of the Shetland Islands.

Mussel Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds (900g) fresh Shetland mussels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 4 cups (960ml) fish or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cleaning and preparing the mussels:
    • Scrub the mussels under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
    • Remove the beards by pulling them sharply towards the hinge of the shell.
    • Discard any mussels that are cracked or do not close when tapped.
  2. Cooking the soup:
    • In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, diced carrots, diced celery, and sliced leek. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
    • Pour in the fish or vegetable stock and bring it to a boil.
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
  3. Adding the mussels:
    • Increase the heat to medium-high.
    • Add the cleaned mussels to the pot, cover it with a lid, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels open up.
    • Discard any mussels that do not open.
    • Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the mussels to a separate bowl.
    • Remove the mussels from their shells and set them aside.
  4. Blending the soup:
    • Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, purée the soup until smooth.
    • Return the soup to the pot and place it over medium heat.
    • Stir in the heavy cream and chopped parsley.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Heat the soup for a few minutes until it is hot and well combined.
  5. Serving:
    • Ladle the soup into bowls.
    • Add the cooked mussel meat on top of the soup.
    • Garnish with additional chopped parsley, if desired.
    • Serve the Shetland Mussel Soup hot with crusty bread on the side.

Enjoy the rich and flavorful Shetland Mussel Soup, which showcases the fresh taste of the mussels. The creamy texture and the combination of vegetables make this soup a comforting and satisfying dish, perfect for seafood lovers.

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