Mussels are one of our favorites. Nothing like a steaming bowl of mussels swimming around in hot broth with a hunk of hot, crusty bread ready to sop up all that goodness. I must admit, I’d never had mussels before Mrs. G and I started dating. But once I did, I was hooked.
This recipe is actually dedicated Grandma Griffin. While growing up, visiting Grandma and Grandpa was always a very special occasion. And one of the reasons was the food. Grandma COULD COOK! And she LOVED to. It might not have been fancy food, but it was good, ole classic Southern foods. Breakfast was always unbelievable. Biscuits and gravy? Check! Sausage and bacon? Yup, got that, too. Eggs? Any way you like them! Slices of ham. Grits. Toast. Pancakes. Everything you could possible want. I imagine she didn’t cook like that every morning, but when we were there, she rolled it all out for us. And don’t even get me started on the dinners…
These days, Grandma isn’t doing too well. We went to visit her this weekend, to catch up and had a grand ole time. She was telling stories and we talked about food. Did we ever talk about food! She knows all kinds of tricks I’d never heard of. (Did you know that adding vinegar to pie crusts makes it tender and flaky? I didn’t, but then I’ve never made a pie crust.) Anyways, I digress. One of the things she wanted me to do was to look through her cookbooks and take any that I wanted. One that I took was “Blue Bonnet Cafe: Still Cookin’ 80th Anniversary Cookbook”. Looking through it, I spotted a recipe for Spicy Mussels and knew that this would be one of the first things I would try. And even though Grandma would probably never cook mussels (let alone this recipe) as I was cooking it, I couldn’t help but think of her, the food she so lovingly prepared for us and the times we shared and I couldn’t help but smile. I know she’s going to read this. Thank you for everything Grandma and I love you.
(Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer, or 4 as a main dish. We cut the recipe in half if these pictures to serve just the two of us)
- 1 cup uncooked bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped leeks, white part only
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp red curry paste
- 4 lbs mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
- 1 lb clams
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley for garnish
- 1 lb of linguini (optional)
- Crusty bread for dipping
- Cook bacon in a dutch oven at moderately high heat (350F on the Big Green Egg directly on the grate) until the fat is beginning to crisp.
- Add leaks, mushrooms and garlic and cook until just tender.
- Deglaze the dutch oven with the white wine and then add the tomatoes, chicken broth and red curry paste, stirring well to incorporate the ingredients.
- Add the clams (discarding any that are open or cracked). If cooking on a stove, cover the pot. If using a BGE, close the lid.
- After 3 or 4 minutes, add the mussels (discarding any that are open or cracked)
- Stir occasionally (every 3 -4 minutes) and continue cooking until all the mussels and clams have opened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Turn off heat (or remove from BGE) and add butter and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with hot crusty bread to dunk in the broth. Maybe served over linguini, as seen here, if desired.
What an unbelievable good recipe! And so simple to prepare! If you closed your eyes, the taste and smell of the salt and brine from the mussels and clams would make you think you were sitting on patio overlooking the ocean, watching the sunset and enjoying a nice, peaceful meal. Although the original recipe did not call for pasta, we thought it made a nice addition. The broth…don’t get me started on the broth. It was outstanding. When I was done eating, I hovered over the stove, dunking piece after piece of bread into the pot, sopping up all that wonderful juice that was left over. One thing that we both thought it was missing, though, was the the spicy. Where was it? Maybe we got the wrong red curry paste? Maybe we didn’t add enough? I’m not sure, but a few dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce fixed that up for me. Mrs. G has already asked when I’m going to fix this for her again. That’s a winner in my book. 🙂