I recently had the honour of creating a dish and doing a cooking demo for Sip and Savour, a craft beer event in Sydney. I was so excited as I love cooking with beer and think that its under used ingredient, although this is a food trend which is finally starting to get real momentum. See for me the use of beer in cooking isn’t a new foodie trend, in fact was and still is my Mothers choice of alcohol when cooking, I grew up eating the most divine Portuguese dishes cooked in beer and have always wondered why it isn’t used more. When creating this recipe I took inspiration from a dish that my Mothers partner Fernando make’s. Every family gathering we have he cooks this very traditional Portuguese dish called: “Carne de porco a Alentejana” which is basically Pork and Pippies and is always requested by my friends whenever they know Fernando is cooking. There was no way I was going to even try and cooking this dish so I took the principles of Pork and Seafood and created this dish instead, which just quietly I think may just rival Fernandos Carne de porco a Alentejana!
This is one of the easiest dishes that you will make, there are a handful of ingredients and it takes only a matter of minutes to cook. Once cooked I like to serve it in the pot I cooked it in and at the centre of the table so everyone can dig in, or you could serve it in individual bowls as in the photo, which is especially nice if your serving it at a dinner party. Serve it with a crusty bread and a side salad or if you want a more hearty version add a drained can of chickpeas when you add the tomatoes.
1) Soak the mussels in water for a minimum of 2 hours, making sure you change the water at least once. This will help ‘purge’ the mussels from any sand or grit. If you can’t make sure you give them a good rinsing under running water for 10 minutes. Next scrub the mussels clean and de-beard them. This is done by removing the hairy bit (aka the beard) by pulling it away from the shell. Discard any broken shells.
2) Heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add your chorizo, and onion to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add your garlic and coriander seeds and cook for a further 5 minutes.
3) Next add your mussels, bay leaves, paprika, chilli flakes, sugar and butter to the pan and stir making sure that your mussels are well coated.
4) Quickly add the Two Birds Taco Beer and then cover with the lid (or foil) and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Take the lid off and start removing the mussels as they open. If there are any that don’t open place the lid back on the pan and simmer for a further minute or so and remove the open mussels. Discard any that still haven’t open.
5) Add your tomatoes (this is where you can add some canned chickpeas) to the broth and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Taste the broth and adjust accordingly, you will either need another teaspoon of sugar or salt depending on the saltiness of the mussels.
6) Return the mussels to the pan and garnish with torn coriander. Serve with good quality crusty bread.
Remember the secret to the perfect dish is to cook with love (and a little va va voom) xx