This weekend I had 6 friends over for dinner, I had never cooked a proper meal for them before so thought I better make it special so for Starters I decided on mussels in a creamy cider broth for the fish eaters, and for the non fish eaters chicken wings 4 ways. This was followed by a basil, lime and mint sorbet. For the main course I made steak and guinness pie and for those with room left for dessert I made sticky toffee pudding with baileys ice cream. If I was ever to go on come dine with me I think this would be my menu I guess its my interpretation of what Irish food is about.
Today I'll give my recipe for the mussels. I decided I wanted the freshest mussels I could find so I took my niece Kate out to Morningtown with our trusty green bucket to collect some, unfortunately the weather has been unusually warm this Autumn so much to Kates disappointmet the mussels never showed up. I wasn't quite as disappointed as I knew the local fishmonger always has good quality mussels.
Well thats enough talking about the mussels I better give the recipe before people start getting impatient. As with any great recipe i'll start with the ingredients, for this recipe you will need:
1 kg of mussels (about 12 mussels per person is a good starter portion)
4 smokey bacon rashers, diced
2 celery stalks
8 shallots or 1 onion
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1pint chicken stock
1 pint of cider
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper.
The main component of a delicious mussel dish is a delicious broth and this one is certainly that.
We start by frying our bacon to get it nice and crispy, when done remove from the pan and start frying the shallots in the bacon fat adding the bay leaf and a pinch of salt and pepper to get some seasoning into the shallots early. After sweating the onions for about 5 minutes add the garlic,celery, carrots and leek. Fry the vegetables for another 5 minutes adding the thyme and half the paprika during cooking. we now add the cider and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes, add a squeeze of the lemon juice to taste.
If you want to spend more time with your guests you can cook to this stage earlier in the day or as I done the day before.