Life has been moving really fast recently and a lot of changes haven take place in the past 6 months. I started a new job, moved to a different part of town with a new roommate, and discovered I love mussels. And I don’t mean just eating them, but also making them and the ritual that revolves around the dining process when mussels are being served. This new edible discovery has had a bigger impact on my life then one might think, and in a very positive way. Mussels are a very social dish. They are cheap compared to most seafood, easy to make, and seem fairly elegant all at the same time. This makes them a perfect dish for entertaining. They also happen to go great with beer- both cooking them in and drinking them with. So, I have been making mussels a lot recently. This dish forces me to slow down and share a fun meal with friends. While you certainly could make a pot of mussels for one, there’s nothing better than placing a huge pot of steaming, aromatic mussels in the middle of a table full of friends. Fishing out the mussels, dunking chunks of crusty bread into the broth, and making a mess while drinking lots of beer and having great conversation is a fantastic way to spend the evening.
In addition to making me slow down from time to time, mussels have also inspired a 2013 resolution: get focused on my blog again. As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been very active in putting up new posts or updating social media channels. This is another symptom of letting a busy life get in the way. I am focused on changing that this year and this recipe seemed like the perfect place to start easing myself back into the world of The Beerista. It’s not a complicated recipe to make, tastes amazing, and uses 1 pot, so I had no excuse not to whip it up and share the recipe with everyone. So here goes….
These beer steamed mussels are fragrant, delicate, and so delicious. Belgian Golden Ales are fruity and spicy with low hop aroma and low malt flavor. This flavor profile goes great with fresh herbs and citrus, so I chose a combination of herbs and aromatics to complement the beer for steaming. I used Sierra Nevada’s Ovila Golden ale, but any traditional style Belgian Golden will do just fine. A nice white ale would also work with these ingredients. Mussels are very versatile, so don’t be afraid to play around with various combinations of herbs, spices, and beer.
Mussels cook very fast, so be sure to prep all your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready to add to the pot once you start cooking. To serve, I like to pour the mussels and broth into a large, shallow bowl and place it in the middle of the table for family style dining. Lots of toasted bread for dunking is a must for the side. I find myself dunking anything edible in sight into the broth. You could also make individual servings of mussels and broth, but I prefer a communal bowl for dinner with close friends.
Belgian Golden Ale Steamed Mussels (serves 4)
What you need:
- 3 lbs mussels, cleaned and rinsed (here is a good site with instructions)
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced up to the loose leafy part
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 generous tablespoon thyme, chopped
- 2 lemons, sliced in half for juicing
- 1/2 cup crème fresh
- 1.5 cups Belgian Golden Ale
- 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons butter
What you do:
Start by prepping all of your ingredients to prepare for steaming the mussels. Chop your leeks, garlic, and herbs, slice the lemons in half, and get your butter ready. Next, mix 1/2 cup crème fresh with 2 tablespoons of stone ground mustard in a small bowl. Clean your mussels and get them ready to steam (you should wait to do this until right before you are ready to cook them).
Once all your ingredients and mussels are ready to go, heat a large pot over high heat and add in the butter. Once the butter begins to brown, about 3 minutes, add in the leeks and garlic. Allow them to sauté for 3 – 4 minutes, until they become soft and begin to brown. Next, add in the mussels and give everything a stir.
Immediately after the mussels are mixed with the garlic and leeks, add in the beer and crème fresh/mustard mixture. Give everything a really good stir and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Let the mussels steam for 3 minutes. When the 3 minutes is up, remove the lid and add in your thyme, parsley, and juice from the 2 lemons. Stir everything one last time and the lid back on and steam for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.
When the mussels have opened and finished steaming, remove from the heat and serve alongside a big pile of bread. Having a vessel for soaking up and eating the broth is a must. Discard any mussels that don’t open all the way and dig in!