Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Fresh tomatoes, mussels, a dash of Stank Sauce and handful of simple ingredients cooked down in less than an hour to make the heartiest bowl of chilli mussels. Seriously easy enough to make mid-week!
SERVES 3 - 4 (as a side dish, 2 people as a main affair)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced very thinly
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 spring onion stalks, chopped into short lengths (optional, but adds a great depth of flavour)
6 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
1 cup white wine
1 kg mussels - fresh is best!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter (optional)
At least 1-2 tbsp Stank Sauce of your choosing
Handful of your favourite basil - we used Thai for a flowery/fragrant lift
Crusty bread to serve
TIP: if you want to experiment with a more exotic flavour profile, try throwing in some galangal, ginger or lemongrass! Throw these in at the same stage as the other aromatics (onion, garlic, spring onion)
Clean the mussels if they haven't already been de-bearded (see NOTES below for some handy tips)
Heat the oil + butter, then cook down onion, garlic & spring onion until softened and slightly caramelised (but not burnt!)
Pour in the wine, scraping fond from the bottom of the pot/dish and incorporating it into the liquid.
Let the wine bubble a little before stirring in the diced tomatoes. Bring things to a boil for approx. 5 min.
Turn down to a low heat and simmer. Stir through the Stank!
Leave covered and simmering for at least 45 min to 1 hour. Add a little water if you notice it begins to thicken or reduce too quickly. If you only have 30 minutes for simmer-time, that will do too but the flavours may not be as POW! come chow time.
Turn up to high heat 5 - 10 mins prior to your desired serving/eating time. Throw in the mussels and cook, covered, for no more than 5 min.
Take the dish off the heat and stir the basil through JUST before serving, reserving some to dress the dish or for people to pick at.
Grab a crusty sourdough or ciabatta and proceed to the pearly gates.
I was a complete novice to cooking these tasty crustaceans before deciding to whip up a Chilli Mussel recipe for Stank. Having done it a few times now, here are a few things I've found handy and you might too:
1. Buy slightly over than under
There will inevitably be some dead mussels in the bag if you're buying fresh, so buy over rather than under for max mussel enjoyment!
2. Move that beard side to side
When de-bearding mussels, I find the cleanest shave comes by grabbing the whole 'beard', firmly moving it from side to side, as you pull it away from the meat inside. This works much better than just trying to rip it clean away in one swift move.
3. Tap for signs of life
When de-bearding, you might like to check if your mussels are dead or alive. Give the open mussels a firm tap on your kitchen bench. Mussels that begin to close are 100% alive (they do move slowly, so give them at least a couple of minutes!) Mussels that do not close at all and remain open are dead - throw them out!
Mussels that are closed may not necessarily be dead, but remaining shut (as a survival tactic...? Someone educate me!) You'll know for sure if they're dead or alive when you throw them in to cook later, since all mussels that are good to eat will open up once they're cooked.
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