Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cooking Under the Influence: Belgian Mussel Soup

There's a restaurant in Indianapolis that the Big Guy and I went to quite a bit when we first started dating. They've got a great ambience, and their outdoor patio area is perfectly placed for people watching. The menu at Brugge is as you'd expect, primarily Belgian. One of my favorite items on that menu is the steamed mussels. Give me those, some great beer and asunny afternoon, and I could sit all day. We've come close to doing just that a handful of times.

I wanted to create that recipe but with a bit of a twist. You'll frequently see mussels done in white wine, which I do like, but with this being a beer blog, I wanted to do something with a delicious Belgian beer.

Fortunately for me, my husband and parents are willing guinea pigs for my recipes.

To start with, I found a recipe for mussels that I liked in a cook book I already had sitting on my shelf in the kitchen. For the basis of this recipe I used the Mussel Soup outlined in Just One Pot.

I adjusted the recipe to include more mussels, since that's what I was able to get a t the grocery store. Something I learned in making this dish is that mussels are not as easy to clean as I would like. If you make this yourself, you'll want to have a fresh scrubby sponge and the time and elbow grease to invest.

The other modification I made was the addition of the beer. I went with a Belgian Blonde, something that would complement the other ingredients without overpowering them.

3-4 pounds fresh mussels, in shell
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
1 Leffe Belgian Blonde Ale

Soak the mussels in cold water for 1 hour. Scrub well.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, and 2 cloves of garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and the ale. Add the mussels and cook until they are all open, about 5 minutes. Discard any that do not open.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and 2 cloves of garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes more.

We opted to serve this dish with a loaf of crusty Italian bread. It was great, definitely one I'll be trying again.


  1. LOOKS AWESOME Brie!! My family and I love Leffe. I didn't know you enjoyed Mussels too! We should definitely hit up Brugge sometime!

  2. they were awesome! we love Brugge so happy to meet you guys for a brew or two