Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm a believer again

My faith has been restored.

In what? you ask. God? Politics? The kindness of humans?

No. My opinions on those subjects remain the same as ever: non-believer; very, very liberal but very, very cynical; frequently disappointed but surprised often enough that I can't quite give up on our species. No, I'm talking about my faith in Dorie Greenspan.

Dorie, I forgive you for the weirdly bland chicken and couscous. I never should have doubted you. The sardine rillettes, after all, were absolutely addictive. And now that I've made your mussels and chorizo, I promise never to sully your name again.

As I've described on occasion, periodically I get a bee in my bonnet about a recipe and can think of nothing else until it's bubbling on the stove. This happened most notably with the root beer cake, which turned me into a robot, and which I have actually been thinking about quite a lot recently. It might finally be time for another go with that gorgeous, rooty cake. I have long dreamed of turning it into cupcakes and piping whipped cream into the center of each, a la Hostess. Not forgoing the root beer fudge frosting of course, nor the flecks of sea salt.

Wait, what was I talking about?

Oh yes, mussels and chorizo. Saw the recipe, became obsessed. Had to make it immediately.

Simple as can be, really. Dorie says to serve it as you like, with bread or fettucine. I went the noodle route, which was very good, although fettucine is tough to eat with a soupy sauce. There was a lot of splattering going on; bibs would not have been out of place. The husband wasn't digging it. He doesn't like to get dirty when he eats, which is why he's not much for gnawing on ribs or plucking crab meat from the shell. I can understand this, but I'm willing to pull out the Stain Spray for something delicious and messy.

Anyhow, I adored this recipe. The tomato sauce had the perfect amount of spice without overpowering the mussels. As for the chorizo, although the recipe calls for the cooked kind, they didn't have that at Falletti's. Instead I purchased their housemade stuff which was raw and therefore needed to be browned up, an extra but quick step. This also meant I had to drain off a little of the oil but no worry, that took about 10 seconds.

Now, next time I might make a revision or two. For one thing, four pounds of mussels was a lot. For two people, even wanting leftovers for another dinner, three pounds would have been plenty.

Second, I might just serve it with some hunks of good bread. The fettucine seemed to be a bit of a dealbreaker with the husband, although he was a fan (I think) of the dish as a whole. And even if the husband isn't a total fan...well, she who does the cooking decides the menu.

That's it, though. I really loved this recipe. It's definitely entering the repertoire. Another winner from the divine Miss Greenspan.

Mussels and chorizo, with or without pasta
Slightly adapted from Around My French Table

Serves 6 with pasta or 4 without

2 T. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 thyme sprigs
2 14 1/2-oz cans diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 lb. cooked chorizo, cut lengthwise in half and sliced 1/4-1/2-inch thick OR uncooked chorizo, crumbled, and browned in the pan as the first step, then removed, and readded along with the tomatoes
4 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
3/4 c dry white wine

Fettucine or bread for serving

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or casserole that will hold all of the ingredients. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and some pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes and chorizo and cook and stir for another 5 minutes or until they are warmed through.

Turn the mussels into the pot, pour in the wine, increase the heat to high, and give the pot a good stir. Cover and cook for 3 minutes more. (You can stir the mussels once during this time or shake the pot, but it's really not necessary.) Turn off the heat, keep the lid on the pot, and let the mussels rest for another minute (or more, if need be) so they finish opening.

Once they are open, the mussels should be served immediately (with or without pasta or bread) in big bowls to catch all of the delicious broth.

Note: If you've got leftovers, remove the mussels from the their shells to store.


  1. Those mussels look incredible. I looove the chorizo in there. So glad you like this book so far (sans chicken couscous dish) as I've been curious about it. The sardine rillette especially looks exciting, I'll definitely be making that sometime!

  2. I confess, I did find it a little messy. The flavors were spot on, though, and figuring out the starchy base would help ease me through my fussiness. Well, nothing will really help with that, but I can always try to seem less crazy, huh?

  3. Connie: Yes, this and the rillettes are keepers for sure. The book is great--and I'm sure someone else would love the chicken couscous too!

    slimmy: Hi.

  4. I love mussels - they're so quick to cook and delicious! Chorizo sounds like an excellent pairing.

  5. I bet this is fabulous, as I already love chorizo with clams or scallops or shrimp.

  6. we can't be perfect all the time, even if our name is dorie. i'm glad she redeemed herself in your eyes, and with mussels, no less! :)

  7. Rejoice! You've seen the light ;P It does sound like a cracker of a dish, but what I really like the sound of it the root beer cake, yet to attempt it.

    Btw, to answer your question, no, never seen a full ep of SITC, just trailers and bits and pieces when waiting for other programmes to start.

  8. Camille: it is indeed.

    CJ: Chorizo and you have my dreaming of that combo!

    grace: well said.

    shaz: I know,the root beer cake simply must make a return appearance. Can't believe that about SITC! Although, it is good, but highly overrated.

  9. Again, your photographs make the food come alive.

  10. Good for Dorie! And you, for making it, telling us how good it was and the lovely photos!

  11. tamilyn: oh, thank you!

    Barbara: I really am the hugest Dorie fan now!

  12. Remember those green curry mussels they used to have at Eos? Man those were good, but these look awesome too. I never make mussels or clams at home, but I'm thinking I should after reading this. YUM!

  13. girls: thanks for stopping by!

    Stacie D: Yes, I love those mussels. We should get back there together soon...

  14. Tell me that you will do a post on the root beer cake? That is calling my name.

    Your Mussels and chorizo look amazing.