Mussels with Bacon and Beer

One day recently, Frank and I both wanted mussels. We had bacon and beer on hand, so that’s how this started. If you don’t make the mistake I did (see below) this is really quick. Serves 2:

Mussels with Bacon and Beer

  • 4 strips bacon, cut in ¼” strips (lardons)
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • 2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed clean and beards removed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Roquefort (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Place the bacon in a skillet set over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set bacon aside.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften and the garlic just begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the thyme to the pan and stir in the beer, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the beer begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cleaned mussels to the pan in a single layer. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, check the mussels. Using a pair of tongs, remove any mussels that have opened and transfer to a large bowl. Cover the pan again and simmer for another 5 minutes, transferring any opened mussels to the large bowl.

When all of the mussels are opened and transferred to the bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard into the sauce in the pan. Taste the sauce and season with salt and black pepper. Keep in mind that the bacon, as well as the liquid given up by the mussels, are both salty, so not much additional salt may be needed.

Pour the finished sauce over the mussels, then sprinkle on the reserved bacon, Roquefort and chopped parsley. Serve the mussels with crusty bread and enjoy!

My verdict:

These were pretty good. The sauce was a little thin, but that may have been because the beer exploded when opened and I dumped in the whole bottle to stop it from spilling all over the kitchen. My other mistake was to buy “wild” mussels at the market, so cleaning them and removing the beards took longer than actually cooking them. But they tasted good. Ages ago we had mussels with bacon and Roquefort and they were wonderful, so I add the cheese, but that’s up to you.



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