Stinging Nettle and Leek Risotto with Smoked Mussels


Serves 4

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  • 300ml chicken stock
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 2 large leeks, peeled, cut into thin slices and washed very well
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 50g stinging nettle leaves, chopped
  • 120g Arborio rice
  • 90ml dry white wine
  • a generous handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Smoked Mussels:

  • 800g fresh mussels in their shells, brushed, washed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. chopped onion
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • olive oil
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 3 tbsp. dried, ground fynbos



First heat the stock in a pot to a simmer. In a second pot, heat a little olive oil and a little knob of butter and sweat the leeks without allowing them to colour. Add the garlic and nettle and sweat until fragrant. Add the rice, fry a little and then deglaze with the wine. Stir for a couple of minutes until the liquid thickens slightly.

Reduce the heat and start to add the hot chicken stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir occasionally and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, adding more stock when it gets a little stiff, until the risotto is almost cooked (the rice grains still look white in the centre and have a crunch to them). Now stir in up to 60g butter. Add the Parmesan, Stir, check the seasoning and consistency and add water if too thick.

Smoked Mussels:

Place a large pot (with fitted lid) on high heat and add a dash of olive oil. Add the onions, thyme and the mussels, toss a little and add the wine, place the lid on. Cook for 4 min on high heat.

Strain the mussels out into a colander – keep the mussel liqueur as it is precious! When cool, remove the mussels from their shells and place a large pan (with fitted lid) on high heat.  Add 3T of dry fynbos dust or wood dust or even rooibos tea. Place the mussels on a small grid and into the pan. When the smoking begins, place the lid over and reduce the heat.

Allow to smoke for 5 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Franck Dangereux from The Foodbarn.