DSCN0573I’m ashamed that this is my first post in three weeks or something like that, but my job and life have gotten in the way of cooking recently. I actually tried to make this great quick coq au vin recipe earlier this week, and I was so rusty that it didn’t turn out well enough to post. I also couldn’t get the cut of chicken I wanted, and the chicken I ended up getting was frozen again. What’s up with the frozen chicken lately, Publix? As a result, the boneless chicken thighs covered in reddish-grey sauce and paired with cauliflower rice somehow didn’t turn out to be the most picturesque meal.

This meal was a lot more successful. Mussels are a great foundation for a quick, delicious, impressive meal that you can make with relatively few ingredients. These are based off of a recipe for mussels in lager that I’ve had in my epicurious recipe box for a long time now. I decided to use the spring seasonal Shiner Farmhouse Ale after my roommate gave it a sparkling review, and it turned out really well. For a side, I made grits mixed with some ricotta, butter and the leftover cream from my sauce. I don’t think you see mussels and grits together very often, but I had to figure something out based on what was in my pantry.

Unfortunately, things aren’t going to get any less crazy since I’m the PR co-chair for the upcoming Derby Day event benefitting the Shepherd Center. Derby Day is on May 4th, so I’ll be spending most of my spare time promoting that for the next couple of weeks. I’ve still got to eat, though, so hopefully I will still be able to post some stuff. Once our CSA (community supported agriculture) starts delivering again, I’ll have lot more fresh and creative stuff to put on the internet for no one to read.

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Ingredients

1 pound live mussels

1 bottle or can of your favorite spring beer

1/2 sweet onion

2 celery ribs

3 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons cream

1 tablespoon dijon

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon herbs de provence (or just thyme, whatever herbs you have on hand)

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

Process

  1. Wash and de-beard the mussels, if needed. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add diced onion and celery. Add salt, pepper and herbs and cook for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are softened. Mince garlic and add it to the pan, cooking for another minute or two. 
  2. Pour beer over vegetables, add bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add mussels to the pot and cover for 4-6 minutes, then remove the mussels as they open. Discard any mussels that don’t open after 6 minutes.
  3. Mix together cream and dijon mustard in a small bowl or glass (I used a pint glass) and add that to the sauce. Mix and simmer for a minute or two, remove the bay leaf, and pour sauce over mussels. I garnished mine with some parsley and breadcrumbs.
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