Dishing up a winner

BY BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 10:56 29/09/2010

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The public have voted and Marlborough's best soup has been found.

BEC Luxury Lodge proprietor Dave Anderson created the winning mussel chowder, which was judged best at the Farmers' Market in Market Place, Blenheim, last Thursday.

A creamy potato and bacon with pak choi soup, created by Julie Robinson, of Montana Brancott Restaurant, was second.

Mr Anderson, who with his wife, Sarah, took over the lease at BEC Luxury Lodge in June, said he was "absolutely delighted" with the result.

The lodge is on Cob Cottage Rd just south of Blenheim.

The soup was his own special recipe and showcased some of the best produce Marlborough offered, Mr Anderson said.

"We wanted to do our best to support local producers to showcase them to visitors coming to the region," Mr Anderson said.

"It's about being true to the ingredients."

The soup featured regularly on the lodge's menu, he said.

THE CHOWDER


BEC Luxury Lodge mussel chowder recipe (4 generous portions)


1.5kg fresh Marlborough greenshell mussels
1 diced onion
1 diced carrot
2 sticks of diced celery
1 bayleaf
150g butter
100g flour
1 tsp turmeric
300mls cream
2 Tbsp brandy
1 lemon
Marlborough flaky sea salt  to taste
Ground white pepper to taste.

In a heavy pot or saucepan just cover mussels with cold water then bring to the boil. Cook until mussels open, then drain mussel liquid into a separate container and let mussels cool slightly.

In a separate heavy pot or saucepan gently heat butter, add diced onion, carrot, celery and bayleaf then cook for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and then add flour and turmeric and stir until all is mixed in.

Gently pour in 1.2 litres of the warm mussel liquid stirring continuously.

Put the soup back on to a gentle heat and stir until mixture comes to the boil. Take off heat.

Take mussels out of their shells and roughly chop then add to the soup base as well as the cream and brandy. Bring to the boil once more, remove bayleaf and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finish soup with zest and juice from 1 lemon.

Bon Apptit!!

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- The Marlborough Express

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