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Matelote of Eels

ingredients

serves 4
800 g (1 3/4 lb) eels, skinned and cut into 7.5 cm/3 inch pieces
seasoned flour for coating
1/2 stick (2 oz) 50 g butter
400 ml (14 fl oz) basic fish stock
125 ml (4 fl oz) dry red wine
3 tbsp (25 g) plain flour
12 button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper

method

1. Toss the pieces of eel in seasoned flour. Melt half the butter in a saucepan, add the eel and fry gently for 10 minutes until lightly browned, turning the pieces frequently.

2. Pour in the stock and wine and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes or until the eel flesh starts to come away from the bones.

3. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook gently until nut brown in colour. Do not allow the butter to burn. Set the pan aside.

4. Drain the eel pieces, discarding the bones, and keep them warm in a serving dish. Strain the stock into a large measuring jug. Gradually add the stock to the browned butter and flour mixture, stirring constantly. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring.

5. Lower the heat, add the sliced mushrooms and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour the mixture over the eel pieces. Serve at once, with plenty of wholemeal bread.

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