Baby Lady LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Mussels. It’s one of her favorite meals. Served with a nice piece of crusty bread to sop up the broth, Baby Lady simply cannot get enough of them.
This recipe comes from Rick Bayless’ TV show that he took from his chef-friend Benito Molina at Muelle 3 in Ensenada. We really enjoy watching Rick Balyess’ TV show (although we have been to his restaurants and have been unimpressed). We were watching his show on PBS one Saturday when he made this recipe. Once we saw it, Baby Lady had to have the mussels for dinner, so off to the market we went. No worrying about what we were having for dinner because Baby Lady was on a mission. All we needed were the freshest mussels we could find and a fresh loaf of crusty sourdough bread. The rest of the recipe we actually keep on hand. The muscles were found, disgorged with a little flour and dinner was had. This recipe has incredible depth of flavor. If you like mussels, you will absolutely fall in love with this dish.
- A couple ounces of dried chiles (see note), stemmed and seeded
- 4 ounces ( 1/2 cup) fresh Mexican chorizo sausage
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2/3 cup white wine
- 2 pounds very fresh, tightly closed mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Several tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Make the coarse chile powder. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the stemmed, seeded chiles on a baking sheet, slide into the oven and bake until toasty smelling, nearly crisp, even a little browned, 5 to 8 minutes depending on the fresh moistness of the chiles. Cool the chiles. They should completely crisp as they come to room temperature. In small batches in an electric spice mill, grind the chiles. When done, you should come up with something that looks like this
Cook the mussels. In a large heavy bottom pot with tight-fitting lid, cook the chorizo over medium heat approximately 10 minutes until it is thoroughly cooked and browned. Add the garlic and stir one minute more. Increase the temperature to high. Add 2 tablespoons of your powdered chile blend, the wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt and mussels . Cover tightly and cook until the mussels have opened, 2 or 3 minutes, discarding any mussels that haven’t opened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a serving bowl, leaving the pot and juices on high heat. Add the butter and boil until it has become thoroughly incorporated. Taste, season with additional salt and chile, as needed Stir in the cilantro and spoon over the mussels. Serve with bread to soak up the fabulous broth and enjoy.
NOTES: While you can use a single chile for the chile powder, it develops much more character and depth of flavor from using multiple chiles. We used 6 chiles we had on hand: ancho (the primary chile in store bought chile powder), mulato, pasilla negro (the ancho, pasilla negro, and mulato are the holy trinity of chiles in mole), guajillo, chipotle, and cascabel. We always have blended chiles around the house for multiple uses for our meals and you cannot make batches for 2 – 3 tablespoons.