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Mussel Stew with Pineau Des Charentes

2 c Dry white wine
2 Bay leaves
1 tb Chopped fresh thyme
1 pn Powdered saffron
1 pn Cayenne pepper
2 lb Mussels, scrubbed, debearded
3 tb Butter
1/2 c Chopped shallots
1 tb Chopped garlic
2 tb All purpose flour
1/3 c Whipping cream
1/3 c Chopped fresh parsley
2 tb Pineau des Charentes OR
3 tb White grape juice plus 1 1/2 T Cognac or other brandy

Combine first 5 ingredients in large Dutch oven over high heat. Boil 3 minutes. Add mussels. Cover and cook until mussels open, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Using slotted spoon, transfer mussels to serving bowl, discarding any that do not open; cover and keep warm. Reserve cooking liquid.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute 3 minutes. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Whisk in reserved cooking liquid. Boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Whisk in cream and parsley. Reduce heat to mdium and simmer until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 3 minutes. Mix in Pineau des Charentes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over mussels and serve.


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