New Meal Monday: Beer & Bacon Mussels


Yesterday was National Beer Day, so to celebrate, we thought it would be appropriate to cook something with beer!  Now, there are a lot of great uses for beer when it comes to cooking. For example, it can be great in a soup, or be a great way to add flavor while grilling! However, when it comes to food I often associate Mussels with beer.  Several years ago I was lucky enough to travel to Belgium, which has a very rich tradition when it comes to beer, and has for a long time claimed some of the world's best beers.  In addition to that Moules Frites (Mussels and fries!) is a traditional Belgian dish (fun fact: Belgium lays claim to the invention of the "french" fry).  So, while many people may first associate Belgium with waffles and chocolate, I think of Mussels, fries and beer!

Many Mussel recipes call for cooking in a white wine, but beer works great!  In keeping with the theme I chose a Belgian dubbel, and I thought it was really good.  I also think the flavors you get from a Belgian white or a Hefeweizen would be great too depending upon your taste.  IPAs are my favorite beer to drink, but I wanted to stay away from something hoppy to not overwhelm the Mussels flavor.  
This dish proved to be a quick, easy and tasty way to celebrate National Beer Day!

What you'll need:

  • 2lbs Fresh Mussels
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup uncooked bacon, diced
  • 1/3 Cup Beer
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 small russet potato, diced into about 1/2" cubes (should be about a 1/2 cup)
  • fresh basil

How you'll do it:

  1. Place mussels in a colander and rinse. Any mussels that don't close during rinsing, should be tapped. If they still don't close, discard them. Set aside the rest of the rinsed, closed mussels.
  2. In a dutch oven or stockpot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add bacon and saute about 3 minutes (until bacon starts to get crispy).
  3. Add shallot, garlic, and potato and saute for about another 3-4 min (until shallots start to become translucent)
  4. Pour in beer and stir all ingredients together, then mix in mussels.
  5. Cover, turn heat to high and cook for about 5 min (until steam is coming out from under the lid and all mussels have opened).
  6. Garnish with basil and enjoy!