Mussels with cider, bacon and leeks

My love for mussels first came about when we were travelling around New Zealand a few years ago.  We discovered them in a  supermarket one day, it was brilliant because you could help yourself to as many as you like and they were cheap as chips.  So off  we went back to the hostel where we rustled up some mussels in a creamy sauce with some spaghetti.  It was perfect with a chilled bottle of white wine and felt quite lavish considering we were backpackers at the time.  Needless to say, we did get some funny looks from our fellow backpackers who thought we were very posh indeed.

{Above – the famous green lipped mussels in New Zealand}

Sadly they don’t have the same help your self system in place over here but you can pick up a bag of fresh mussels from some supermarkets or your local fishmonger.  A bag only cost us £2.99 and they are incredibly easy to cook, the bit I hate doing is de-bearding them but it’s worth it in the end.  Here is a simple recipe, my favourite for mussels actually, served with some pommes frites but normal chips or a good crusty baguette would be just as good.

Serves 2

You will need:

A Kilo of fresh mussels, de-bearded.(Scrub the mussels and remove the wiry little ‘beards’ that are attached to the shells. Discard any open mussels that don’t close when given a sharp tap.)
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
handful of fresh thyme
2 tbsp creme fraiche
250ml cider
180g bacon/pancetta lardons
1 tsp mustard
Knob of butter
1 tbsp Olive oil

Firstly, heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and add the bacon lardons, bay leaf and thyme. 

As they start to brown add the garlic and leeks to the pan and give it a stir.  Let the leeks soften for 5 mins or so over a medium heat.  Next, turn the heat up and add the cider to the pan and allow it to bubble away for a few minutes more.  Now add the mustard and give it a good stir, then add the mussels and place a lid on the pan.  Steam the mussels for 2–3 minutes, giving the pan a good shake once or twice.

When the mussels have nearly all opened (discard any that remain firmly shut), stir in the creme  fraiche.  Season with salt and pepper and serve in deep bowls with some homemade frites or crusty bread to soak up the sauce.  

Simply delicious!

9 thoughts on “Mussels with cider, bacon and leeks

  1. Yum! Mussels are my absolute favourite thing. I always eat them when I visit my mother in France. In fact I’m going next week so fingers crossed I’ll be having some.

  2. So I am lucky enough to live in New Zealand and love mussels! I am definitely giving this recipe a go – thanks. I don’t eat bacon however….do you think the recipe will still be fine if I omit it?

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