The depths of winter bring out the best shellfish of the year, showcased here in a cozy recipe for mussels in cider cream sauce.
By Amy Traverso
Dec 03 2020
Mussels in Cider Cream SaucePhoto Credit : Styled and Photographed by Liz Neily
Any brand of hard cider will do here (we like Citizen, Artifact, Bantam, Shacksbury, Carr’s, and Farnham Hill, all made in New England). Be aware that the most popular mass-market brands tend to be quite sweet.
4 pounds mussels
4 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lightly chopped thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups hard cider
3/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh parsley, for garnish
First, clean and sort the mussels: Rinse them in a colander, discarding any with broken shells. Remove any stringy threads (beards) from the shells with a paring knife or a firm tug. If any of the mussels are slightly open, tap them. If they close, they’re still alive and ready to cook; if they remain open, discard them.
Line a plate with paper towels and set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the bacon, stirring often, until it turns brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to the towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
Add the onion, garlic, thyme, paprika, and salt to the pot and stir for 1 minute. Add the cider, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the cider is reduced by half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add the mussels, cover the pot, and cook until all the mussels are open, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley, and serve with crusty bread on the side to mop up the juices.