I love making traditional moules marinières, and make mussels enough to be able to justify – at least to myself – buying this really sweet and clever mussel pot from Staub.
I really like using white wine, but just by varying the alcohol you use in a traditional mussel dish you can really get completely different results! I have tried several different variations; a couple of the ones I remember are gin, dry cider, wheat beer, and porter. I usually start by sauteing yellow onions or shallots with bacon, add leaks and add the alcohol I am going to use. Depending on the alcohol content you will want to let the alcohol burn off longer, for example the gin needs longer than a wheat beer. Both of which turn out really great, with nice floral aromas!
I made this dish as a part of my father’s Seafood Birthday Bonanza, where I bought a bunch of different shellfish that we arranged on different platters. Langoustines, lobsters, and lots of oysters! The whole thing turned out really decadent and delicious, it was such a feast for the eyes as well! By the time we got to this dish, served with home-fried french fries, we were all pretty full so we ended up with leftovers. We took the mussels out of their shells and saved them in the sauce and made a pasta dish out of it, but it’s the same recipe that can be served with some nice bread that you can dip in the juice.
Porter moules marinières
1 net mussels (usually 2 lbs or 1 kg)
2 shallots, chopped
½ cup chopped leek greens
1 tbs Herbs de Provence spice mix
½ pack bacon
1 cup porter beer
½ cup cream
2 bay leaves
sprigs of thyme and parsley
salt and pepper
2 tbs butter
- Fill a large bowl or bucket with the mussels and cold water, if any do not close or are cracked through them out. If scrub the mussels, and pull off any beards that are attached to the mussels.
- Sauté the bacon, add the shallots and the leek greens. When the onions begin to sweat add butter, bay leaves, the thyme and parsley sprigs, and the herbs de Provence.
- Deglaze the pan with the porter, salt and pepper to taste, add the mussels and let the alcohol evaporate (if using a stronger alcohol for ex gin then let the majority of the alcohol evaporate before adding the mussels, also use less of the alcohol and more cream for fluid). Allow mussels to open, usually takes around 3-4 minutes.
- Add cream, and sprinkle chopped parley on top. Serve with bread or french fries. Don’t eat any mussels that aren’t open.
This is what we did with the extras, strain the mussels and put them aside. We had lots of juice, since I really like slurping the juice I doubled the fluid volume, so we were able to start boiling the pasta in water and finish boiling it in the mussel sauce (sans mussels since you don’t want them to get rubbery!). I sautéed some mushrooms and added them on top of the pasta with the mussels. The porter is full-bodied and the flavor of this is very flavorful, I really think it is worth making a little extra to have in a pasta dish like this. Delicious!