Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Leffe Blonde Mussels | Cooking with Beer

From beer brats to beer bread, I like to cook with beer every chance I get. It's always an experiment, but not always good one. (Like the time in college I tried to make a beer cheese fondue with a Miller Lite and lost my appetite in the process.) Brats and bread are easy-peasy, though. So this past weekend I felt like doing something a little more adventurous... another experiment of sorts. With seafood. Specifically, mussels.

The last time I had mussels was approximately the eighth or ninth grade. It's. Been. Years. My best friend back then, originally from Guatemala, always whipped up fantastic mussels and drizzled them with lime juice and served them with amazing Guatemalan food. And as delicious as those were, I wanted to do something more savory... and with beer. I did a lot of digging around on Pinterest for the perfect beer boiled mussel recipe, but nothing sounded just right. So I decided to reeeeally go out on a limb and make one up myself. Note: I'm not the chef here. (Greg's the better cook and baker.) But turns out, I'm pretty much a master of mussels.

Left: The finished mussels, ready to be devoured! Center: Parmesan asparagus. Right: Empty shells!
The mussels turned out mighty delicious. I was quite proud of myself for cooking up something remotely gourmet. ;) But seriously. My mouth is watering and stomach is growling just to remember those tasty little morsels. We also made steamed asparagus drizzled with butter and covered with Parmesan cheese, a side that happens to be a staple on our home-cooked dinner nights.

Without further ado, here's the simple and savory recipe:

Mussels - I used an entire box of frozen green shell mussels on the half shelves. 
1 whole onion, chopped up- I used a white onion.
1 whole bell pepper, chopped up - I used a red bell pepper.
Also: garlic, olive oil, butter, and a dash of cayenne.
And, of course, one bottle of Leffe Blonde. 

I let my frozen mussels thaw a little bit, but they were still mostly frozen when I started cooking, which was fine. In large pot or deep pan (we used a Dutch oven) heat the onion, peppers, garlic, butter, and olive oil. I didn't give exact measurements for the butter, garlic, and olive oil because I don't have exact measurements. I just added when I felt like it. So add to your own taste. (My recipes are often very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants.)

When the onions start to get nice, golden, and fragrant and the buttery olive oil mixture is simmering, add the frozen mussels. Stir around to get the onions, garlic, and pepper all over and inside the mussels. This is also when I sprinkled in some cayenne for a little spice. Once it's all evenly distributed, pour the Leffe Blonde over the mussels. I used the entire bottle, except for two drinks. ;) You could get by with a half bottle. Cover the mussels and let the beer come to a boil. 

Remove the pot from the heat once the mussels are cooked through. Don't cook them too long or they'll get rubbery. I just kept a close eye on them. I believe it took around ten minutes. Then scoop out the mussels into a bowl, making sure to get all that onion and pepper goodness, too. And enjoy!

Have you ever made beer mussels?  What do you like on your mussels?

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