Thursday, April 22, 2010
In addition to cheesesteaks, I always associate Philly with Belgian-Style Mussels because of my favorite bar in Philly, Monk's, the site of my 'first-date' with Jenn and many many other wonderful nights. This Philadelphia institution is a beer-lover's mecca. Their beer list is referred to the 'beer-bible' and boasts hundreds of beers from all over the world. Their other specialty is mussels which you order by the size of the pot, small or large. All of them are cooked in beer and they always have a handful of different options to choose from with different beers and veggies. They always serve these with Pommes Frites and good bread to sop up the broth.
Again, since I've been in Philly the past couple of weeks working a freelance gig while I try to secure a new full-time job, I decided to pay tribute to Philly with this dish. This was the second time I had tried this although the first time I turned it into risotto, which was fantastic.
Ingredients (feeds 4 as an appetizer or 2 very hungry individuals as a meal):
2 lb. bag of mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1/4 lb bacon
1 cup of chopped leeks
3 shallots, chopped
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
1 lime, squeezed
2 bottles of belgian style beer (I used River Horse Double Wit)
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/2 box of sliced baby bella mushrooms
tbsp of minced cilantro
First, I cooked the bacon until crispy and set it aside to be crumbled later. I used a small amount of the bacon grease and some olive oil to saute the veggies in the bottom of a large pot. I cooked these for a few minutes until soft and then added the beer, keeping it on the heat until simmering. At this point you can add your mussels and cook, covered, checking on them until they are all opened. That's one of the great parts about cooking clams or mussels, in that you have a clear indication of when they are cooked since they open up. Don't eat them if they don't open.
In the end I was pretty happy with the results although the ones at Monk's are still better... I think that when I try these again I will probably omit the gorgonzola and use a more mildly flavored Belgian beer. One of my favorites at Monk's is DeKonick, although I don't know where to find it in Jersey City yet.