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Billi Bi (Mussel) Soup Recipe


Billi bi is a French soup made with mussels, onions, wine, cream and seasonings. The classic recipe strains the mussels to leave a smooth soup, but the mussels are often left in as an added bonus these days. This soup may be served hot or at room temperature.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 2 shallots, coarsely-chopped
  • 2 small onions, quartered
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons hollandaise sauce


Clean the mussels to remove sand, dirt, and any beards. Place mussels in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Add shallots, onions, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, wine, butter, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes until the mussels open, discarding any mussels that do not open.

Strain the contents through a double thickness of cheesecloth into a saucepan. Remove the meat from the mussel shells and set aside. Discard the mussel shells and vegetables remaining in the cheesecloth.

Bring the seafood stock in the saucepan to a boil. Stir in the heavy cream and remove the pan from the heat as soon as it begins to boil again. Whisk in the egg yolk and return the pot to the heat, stirring, only until the soup thickens slightly. Do not boil. Stir in hollandaise sauce and mussel meat just before serving.

This seafood soup may be served hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings
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