Pieria Mussels with Trahana-Tomato Soup and Boukovo

This is a recipe that weaves two local traditions together: Mussels are important business in the waters off the coast of Pieria, but inland one of the loveliest dishes is a tomato-based soup enriched with filling local trahana and often served with meatballs.

6 servings
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • Β½ cup sour or vegetarian trahana
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. boukovo (dried hot red pepper flakes)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Β½ cup water
  • 2 cups fresh purΓ©ed tomatoes or finely chopped, good-quality canned tomatoes
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Pinch of sugar, optional
  • 2 kilos (4 lbs.) mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 150 gr. (5 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, optional

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or shallow pot and warm the trahana, garlic and boukovo, stirring until the garlic turns pale yellow. Add the wine. As soon as it steams up, add the water and tomatoes and cook over moderate heat until slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt, white pepper, and sugar.

Add the mussels, raise heat to high, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until mussels just open wide, 6 to 8 minutes. (Discard any mussels that are unopened after 8 minutes.) Sprinkle with feta and parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.

The rich texture of this soup welcomes many of the varieties cultivated in local vineyards: Xinomavro, Krassato, Stavroto, and Limnio.

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