I’ve prepared quite a few mussel dishes in my day. Most of them have included ingredients such as white wine or beer and the staple onions and garlic. Some ingredients go so well with the mussels that they simply shouldn’t be tampered with. The wine and beer, I go back and forth with. I think I prefer the beer because I like the flavor of the overall broth it creates. The stronger that broth, the better.
A few days ago, I picked up some mussels from our local grocery store. I think we bought four pounds in total, which is a lot for two people. They came in bags and each bag was only two pounds, which wasn’t enough, so I was sort of caught in the middle. Anyway, as we were driving home, I informed my lady that I wasn’t interested in making a mussel dish that I had already made. That’s when she suggested that I somehow incorporate bourbon into that night’s dish. That one made me think. I’d have to look it up to see if anyone else had ever done that; the idea was intriguing. When we got home, I discovered that “mussels and bourbon” recipes were all over the internet. I whittled the ingredient lists down and I’m ready to share what I’ve come up with.
As you can imagine, bourbon is pretty strong. Don’t worry though because all that alcohol taste cooks off. What you’re left with is a taste that’s really good, but not overwhelming. It’s tough to explain. You can taste the bourbon, but it’s not too much, if that makes any sense.
For this recipe, I used to traditional onion and garlic, a bit of salt, some parsley, butter and of course, bourbon. Through the years, I’ve flip-flopped between using butter and olive oil and I’ve come to the conclusion that butter is definitely better with mussels. It’s more rich and the flavor is there. Garlic is a must too. I’ve tried recipes that didn’t call for garlic and they just weren’t the same.
Overall, I like this bourbon version. It’s semi-unique when compared to the sheer volume of other types of alcohol used in this type of dish and the broth is rather tasty when it’s all said and done. While a half cup is called for, I can confirm that the quantity isn’t too much.
2 Pounds Mussels, Cleaned
2 Teaspoons Butter
1 Teaspoon Garlic, Minced
1 Medium Sized Sweet Onion, Chopped
1/3 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Bourbon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
I’d like to thank The Kitchen is My Playground for this recipe. The combination of ingredients is just perfect.
Soften the Onions
Warm a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter, onion and garlic. Stir occasionally and let cook for about eight minutes or until the onions have softened and lightly browned. A fond should have also formed on the bottom of the pot.
Next, add the water, bourbon, salt, pepper and half the parsley to the pot and turn the heat to high. Bring the liquid to a boil.
Add the Mussels
Add in the mussels and cover the pot. Let the mussels steam for about five minutes, using a large spoon to stir them about half way through. The mussels should open by this point. If they haven’t, continue cooking until they do.
Plate & Serve
When finished, divide the mussels between plates. Scoop out the broth and pour it over the mussels. Also, sprinkle the remaining parsley over everything.
The Final Bourbon Mussels
This was a pretty good dish. I particularly enjoyed the garlic, butter and bourbon. The creaminess of the butter offset some of the bourbon and the garlic added some overall goodness. If you decide to try this recipe out, please let me know your thoughts on it down in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!