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Mussels in Scrumpy Jack

This recipe form the new book from Chef John Burton Race entitled Coming Home .

The book accompnaies the TV series Return of the Chef which is about the return of John Burton Race and his family to England from their year in France. The series is centered around his acquisition of the premises for his new restaurant known as The New Angel (formerly the famous Carved Angel restaurant in Dartmouth), its refurbishment, teething problems and day to day running all interspersed with bits of family life.

If you would like to know more about The New Angel <click here>

If you would like to know more about the book have a look at the Hub-UK book review <click here>

This is a variation of the classic French dish Moules Marinières. In Devon, several restaurants serve the mussels this way, using a dry cider instead of white wine. This recipe also has the addition of apple in the broth, with cream to finish. When in Devon, do as the Devonians do!


3kg mussels
50g unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
300ml dry Scrumpy Jack or any dry cider
150ml double cream
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley


  • Wash and scrape the mussels and remove the beards. Melt the butter in a large, lidded saucepan and add all the chopped ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the thyme and bay leaf.
  • Turn the heat up high, pour in the cider and bring to the boil. Next tip in the mussels, stirring them into the liquid with a wooden spoon, working from the bottom of the pan to top, cover with the lid and cook for about 3 minutes until the mussels open.
  • Shake the pan, remove the lid, add the cream and stir into the mixture. Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper, then sprinkle in the chopped parsley.
  • Using a ladle, divide the mussels between eight bowls. Pour some of the broth over them and serve immediately with some crusty white bread.


To make Moules Marinières, substitute dry white wine for the cider, and leave out the apple.

Serves 8

John Burton Race
Recipe from Coming Home

©John Burton Race 2005