An elegant recipe by Rick Stein for sweet mussels simmered with white wine, leek and kneaded butter for a full-bodied sauce.


  • 4 large, round crusty bread rolls

  • 175g/6oz butter

  • 900g/2lb mussels, cleaned

  • 50ml/2fl oz dry white wine

  • 2 large or 4 small leeks, cleaned and finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp/1fl oz/30ml double cream

  • 1 tsp beurre manie

  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  • 2.

    Cut a thin slice off the top of each bread roll and set aside. Scoop out all the soft bread from inside each roll with a teaspoon, leaving a wall about 5mm/¼in thick. Melt 50g/2oz of the butter and use to brush the inside of each roll and the lids. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until crisp and golden. Keep warm.

  • 3.

    Put the mussels into a large pan with the wine, then cover and cook over a high heat for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan now and then, until they have just opened. Tip them into a colander set over a bowl to collect all the cooking liquor. Remove the mussels from their shells, cover and set aside.

  • 4.

    Melt another 25g/1oz of the butter in a pan. Add the leeks, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add all the mussel cooking liquor except the last tablespoon or two (which might contain some grit), then bring to the boil and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the remaining butter, the double cream and the beurre manie. Simmer for 1 minute until slightly thickened.

  • 5.

    Stir the mussels, chives and some seasoning into the sauce. Spoon the mixture into the warm rolls, partly cover with the lids and serve.

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