Mussel Pilau


serves 4 - 6
1.25 kg mussels
450 ml water
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
250 g basmati or long grain rice, soaked for 30 minutes
6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chilli, or 1 dried red one, de-seeded and chopped
300 ml mussel stock, strained
2 pinches saffron, soaked in three large spoons hot mussel liquid for 10 minutes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprig fresh dill, to garnish


1. Scrape the mussels, removing any barnacles and the beards.

2. Place them in a sink full of water, let the grit sink and lift them out by hand; repeat this several times until the water appears clear.

3. Bring the 450 ml water, chopped onion and oil to the boil in a large saucepan.

4. Add the mussels, cover and cook briskly for 2-3 minutes until the shells open, shaking the pan occasionally.

5. Take the mussels out with a slotted spoon and let the liquid in the saucepan settle for 5 minutes, in case of grit, before you strain and measure it.

6. In the meantime, discard any unopened mussels, and take the rest out of their shells, apart from a dozen or so for decoration.

7. Drain the rice. Bring to the boil about 900 ml water with a little salt in a pan, add the drained rice and cook briskly for 4 minutes; the rice should still be hard.

8. Strain rice immediately, rinse with cold water, and reserve.

9. Heat the oil and brown the onion in a large frying pan; add the garlic and chilli and saute together for 1 minute.

10. Add the measured mussel stock, the saffron liquid, seasoning and all the mussels. Bring to the boil then add the rice.

11. Reduce heat and cook gently for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

12. Garnish with a sprig of dill.

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