RECIPE: Fresh Irish Mussels with Chorizo & Scallion Cream
Beech Hill Country House Hotel's head chef Raymond Moran lets us in on a few secrets
'A steaming bowl of freshly caught Irish Mussels is a hard act to beat at any time of year. Farmed on a vast scale all around our beautiful coast they are a firm favourite of mine and a big delight for many of Beech Hill’s visitors.
'Mussels are one our best sustainable fish but oddly many restaurants ignore them. Instead they opt for the frozen green-lip mussel from New Zealand. But why on earth fly mussels from the other side of the world when we have this great product on our own door step?
'Here I have added a touch of spice in the form of chorizo sausage but you could try a drop of your favourite Irish whiskey instead.'
4 pints of mussels (scraped and cleaned)
3 finely diced shallots
2 cloves crushed garlic
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 glass white wine
2 bay leaves
2 chorizo sausage, sliced
1 bunch chopped parsley
600 ml of cream (or use chopped tomatoes)
Preheat the biggest saucepan you have got. In a separate, smaller pan on a medium heat sweat the shallots, garlic, thyme and chorizo until soft. Quickly add the mussels, white wine and bay leaves to the large, very hot pan and cover straight with a lid.
Give it a few shakes and after 3 or 4 minutes lift the lid. The mussel shells should be open. Any that are still shut you must discard. Strain the mussel and wine stock from the larger pan onto the shallot and chorizo mix and bring to the boil.
Place the lid back on the mussels in the larger pan and leave to the side. Add the bay leaves and quickly reduce mixture by half. Add the cream (or chopped tomatoes) and reduce by a quarter.
Now pour the chorizo sauce onto the mussels in the larger pan and bring to the boil.
Sprinkle with scallions and parsley.
Serve in a bowl or a large pot at the centre of the table so everyone can dip in with big pieces of crusty or wheaten bread and an ice-cold bottle of beer to hand. Use around a pint of mussels per person.