Mussels in ale recipe

Mussels in ale recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Seafood
  • Shellfish
  • Mussels

Mussels are so often done in wine, but this recipe uses ale for a nice change of pace. The creamy and cheesy ale sauce is a delight to mop up with chips or crusty bread.

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IngredientsServes: 4

  • knob of butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1kg mussels, cleaned
  • 1 bottle of ale
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour, mixed with
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large handful of grated cheese, such as mild Cheddar or Gruyere
  • 110ml double cream

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:20min

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and sauté garlic and shallot until soft.
  2. Add mussels and stir to coat with the butter. Add ale and close the pan. Cook about 4 to 5 minutes. When all the mussels have opened, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. (Discard any that have not opened.)
  3. Strain the cooking juices through a fine sieve and then pour into a small saucepan. Add the cornflour-water mixture, and simmer until thickened.
  4. Add the grated cheese. When melted, add the cream. Pour sauce over the mussels. Serve with chips or bread. Enjoy!

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  • 2 pounds mussels in shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cored and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Belgian white ale
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup Fennel fronds
  • 1 slice Toasted or grilled artisanal bread slices

To clean live mussels, rinse under cool running water and scrub with a hard-bristle brush. Remove and discard beards.

In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add sliced fennel and garlic cook 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, ale, broth, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Bring to boiling. Add mussels stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until mussels open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to a serving bowl, reserving vegetable-broth mixture in Dutch oven. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Return mixture in Dutch oven to boiling remove from heat. Stir in parsley and butter. Spoon mixture over mussels. If desired, garnish with fennel fronds. If desired, serve with bread.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 25 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 splash dry white wine
  • 20 clams in shell, scrubbed
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or to taste
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook onion until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, season with salt, and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and cook peeled garlic for 1 minute. Add mussels and cook until they open, about 8 minutes. Transfer mussels to a bowl. Pour in white wine and allow to evaporate. Remove garlic, but save cooking liquid.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a separate skillet and cook clams until they open, about 8 minutes. Remove 1/2 of the mussels and 1/2 of the clams from their shells. Discard any unopened shells. Add all mussels and clams, with and without shells, and cooking liquid to the tomato sauce. Season with red pepper flakes and simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain and add spaghetti to tomato sauce. Mix in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan on the side.

Mussels in Irish Ale

My family loves mussels so we are always looking for new flavor combinations to try. With St. Patrick&rsquos day right around the corner and with Ireland being an island nation, I went in search of a traditional Irish dish featuring mussels. These Mussels in Irish Ale filled the bill of what I was looking for and I had all the ingredients in my pantry!

Generally, farm raised mussels come in from the store looking pretty clean. Most are already de-bearded if not already scrubbed and ready to eat. Nevertheless, we fill the sink with cold water and dump them in for a quick soak and inspection. They cook up in under 10 minutes so these make a perfect quick dinner or entertaining menu. If you are not partial to beer, hard cider or the like you can always substitute seafood stock, chicken stock, apple juice or water for the alcohol.

Looking for more Irish recipes for ST. Patrick&rsquos Day? Ches out these Simple Irish Recipes for St. Patrick&rsquos Day.

Mussels in Doom Bar beer sauce recipe

1) In a large pan add 50g of your butter, melt until foaming then turn onto a gentle heat. Add your garlic (by lightly crushed I mean use the palm of your hand or something weighty and leave in skin on, we just want a lovely light aroma going through the sauce), add the bay, carrots, shallots and celery and stir for around 10 minutes until slightly softened and opaque.

2) Add the ale and then remove from the pan and leave to cool and infuse.

3) Wash your mussels in cold water, discard any that are cracked or do not shut when tapped.

4) Heat a large saucepan on a high heat (to test the pan is hot enough flick a tiny bit of water into it if the water bounces around before evaporating your pan is hot enough). Add the mussels, pour over the ale and put a lid on, shaking occasionally. The mussels will take 3-4 minutes to open. Once open they are ready! Strain into a colander over another pan.

5) Put the liquor back on the heat and reduce by around a third. This should take around 5 minutes.

6) Whisk in the remaining butter and herbs, taste and check for seasoning before adding the mussels back into the pan.

7) Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

Chef&rsquos note: If you&rsquore sceptical about the amount of butter you can substitute the last 150g for low fat crème fraiche.

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale Drunken Mussels Recipe

Drunken mussels recipes are very liberal with their application. Some of these recipes use white wine and some use beer. I use both (independently), but tend to focus less on the inherent flavor of the alcohol and more on how I go about coaxing as much flavor out of the ingredients before I add the mussels to the pot.

Lately, I haven’t been able to say no to those bags of cleaned mussels sitting in the seafood cooler at Hannaford. Mussels cost less than $2 per pound and bring me immense joy. They’re so simple to prepare, are good for you and are very filling, if served with an accompanying pasta. Laura and I tend to lean toward some sort of vegetable infused pasta, rather than the plain, more traditional, versions. I’ve seen a few pasta brands upping their games in the veggie arena and it’s fun to experiment with what’s new.

The Recipe

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale is considered a “winter warmer,” which means that it’s rich and balanced, has hints of cinnamon, citrus and spices that carry into the overall flavor. Oftentimes, these beers are backed by a sweet caramelly breadiness, if that makes any sense. In the most basic sense, winter warmers are ales that are blended with spices. If you haven’t tried one yet, you really should. They definitely add to the feeling of the season.

Since this ale is so robust and since I enjoy it so much, I wanted to see what would happen if I used it as the primary ingredient for my drunken mussel recipe. One of the techniques I employ during the preparation of these types of dishes is to boil the liquid down to add richness. There’s lots of caramelization and fond creation with these recipes. Those, coupled with the cooked down alcohol, create a deeply rich and flavorful collection of mussels on the plate.


2 Pounds Mussels, Cleaned
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Medium Sized Sweet Onion, Chopped
3 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 12-Ounce Bottle of Winter Ale
1/2 Teaspoon Table Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Step-by-Step Instructions

I was looking through one of my older mussels recipes last night and was reminded that I used an entire stick of butter for that one. While it was certainly delicious and was very rich, I decided to reduce the amount of butter used. Laura and I can’t be eating a half stick of butter each in one night. Butter injects creaminess into many dishes. If this is your desire, you can add more butter to this recipe. Double up, triple up – whatever you want. It won’t hurt things in any way.

Sautee the Onion

Warm a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Then, once the pan is to temperature, add the butter and swirl it around until it melts. Once it does, add the chopped onion to the pan as well.

Continue cooking the onions until they are thoroughly browned. Don’t go so far as to burn them, but the browner you get them, the more flavor there will be. After the onions have browned, add the garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon juice to the pan as well. Cook and mix well for about 1 minute. The goal here is to blend the flavors and to break down the potentness of the garlic without going too far. You don’t want to brown the garlic, just soften it.

Add the Beer

Next, add the beer to the skillet, along with the salt and pepper. Keep the pan uncovered and let the liquid reduce by half. This will most likely take about 5-7 minutes.

Cook the Mussels

After the beer has been reduced, add the cleaned mussels to the skillet.

Cover the pan and let everything steam for about 2 minutes. Then, remove the cover, mix well so the liquid can get inside the opened mussels and then cover again. Cook for another 2 minutes. When that’s done, remove the cover and discard any mussels that didn’t open.

Finally, divide the mussels between two bowls and scoop out the juice and add that over the mussels.

The Final Dish

If you taste the liquid before adding the mussels to the pan, it will taste just “okay.” It’s not until you add the mussels and their flavors combine with the liquid that the entire dish becomes magical. Enjoy!

Mussels In Belgian Beer

This recipe is adapted from Michael Roper, owner of Hopleaf Bar in Andersonville. Serve these mussels with plenty of good bread for sopping up the cooking juices and wash them down with a cold, Belgian wheat ale, such as Witterkerke (which you can also use for cooking the mussels).

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
1 small rib celery, thinly sliced
2 pounds mussels, cleaned, debearded
1 bottle (12 ounces) Belgian wheat ale
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/8 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet add shallots and celery. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add mussels add beer, thyme, bay leaf, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Cover. Cook until mussels are open, about 4-6 minutes, keeping pan moving frequently. Discard mussels that do not open. Serve in shallow bowls.

Alehouse Mussels

A heaping bowl of fresh whole mussels steamed in blonde ale broth with roma tomatoes, garlic, oregano and butter. Inspired by a New Hampshire sea coast top notch brewery.


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Shallots, Minced
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 2 pounds Mussels, Cleaned
  • 2 cups Blonde Ale
  • 1 whole Large Tomato, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Freshly Chopped Basil


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. When they just begin to brown, add the mussels, ale, tomato, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Sauté the mussels until they begin to open, then add the butter and basil. Continue to cook until all the mussels are opened. Then taste for seasoning and adjust seasoning if needed. Divide mussels and broth between two shallow bowls and serve immediately.

Mussels Steamed in Ale

Denise Landis is the founder and editor in chief of The Cook's Cook. She tested recipes for the New York Times for over 25 years.

Mussels Steamed in Hank's Pale Ale, from Throwback Brewery. Photo credit: Exeter TV98

Recipe adapted from Throwback Brewery (Hampton, New Hampshire, USA)


  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 71 ml (⅓ cup) minced shallots
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) minced garlic
  • 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) salt, or as needed
  • 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
  • 1.8 to 2.7 kg (4 to 6 pounds) cleaned, de-bearded mussels
  • 237 to 355 ml (1 to 1½ cups) pale ale
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • Toasted baguette slices, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


1. Place a large deep pot with a lid over medium heat. Add the olive oil, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper.

2. Once the shallots and garlic are crisping and the pan is really hot, drop in the mussels. Add 1 to 1.5 cups of beer to the pan.

3. Cover and cook on high until all the mussels have opened, about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the butter. Let it melt into the broth. Turn the heat off. Spoon mussels into bowls, including a generous amount of broth in each. Garnish each bowl with a slice of toasted baguette, and, if desired, a slice of lemon for squeezing over the mussels.

See More:

Denise Landis

Denise Landis had been employed as an archeologist for seven years before a food editor hired her to test some recipes from a cookbook manuscript. This short stint led to longer assignments, and two years later she began testing recipes for the New York Times. She has been a professional recipe tester and editor for over 25 years, is the author of a New York Times cookbook, and has written for numerous publications. She is a member of the New England Chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier.

12 Ways to Eat More Mussels

Matt Taylor-Gross

With smoother and darker shells than their clam and scallop brethren, mussels are on the richer, meatier spectrum of bivalves they’re best when cooked simply (and quickly!) with a bright pop of acidity or spice. While they’re often prepared with white wine and served with fries in the popular Belgian dish moules-frites, mussels are endlessly adaptable. Here are 10 dishes to back that statement.

Mussels with Coconut Sweet Chili Broth

Get the recipe for Mussels with Coconut Sweet Chili Broth »

Mussels with Herbed Vinaigrette (Moules Vinaigrette)

Some fresh herbs are all you need for these French mussels, which come from Langon, France.
Get the recipe for Mussels with Herbed Vinaigrette (Moules Vinaigrette) »

Garifuna Style Seafood Soup (Iraü Lau Juyeirugu)

Fresh basil, oregano, and sage lend their fragrance to this hearty soup loaded with five different types of seafood. Get the recipe for Garifuna Style Seafood Soup (Iraü Lau Juyeirugu) »

Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aïoli

Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aïoli

Smita Chandra’s Malabar Mussels

Dishes from the south Indian state of Kerala, along the Malabar Coast, are heavily influenced by the area’s abundant supply of seafood. In this Anglo-Indian recipe from cookbook author and cooking instructor Smita Chandra, mussels gathered from local waters are cooked with tomatoes in a richly spiced coconut broth.

Mussels Tostada with Russian Salad and Chipotle Mayonnaise

Mussels Tostada with Russian Salad and Chipotle Mayonnaise

Mussels with Tomatoes and White Beans

You’ll want some crusty bread to sop up all the broth. Get the recipe for Mussels with Tomatoes and White Beans »

Stuffed Mussels (Cozze al Pomodoro)

Thyme and white wine bring out the sweet flavor of mussels in this classic dish.

Clams and Mussels with Spicy Pork Sausage Broth

This version of a classic New England clambake cooks the shellfish—both topneck clams and mussels—separately from the potatoes so that their briny juices don’t get lost in the boiling liquid. Get the recipe for Clams and Mussels with Spicy Pork Sausage Broth »

Mediterranean Mussel and Chickpea Soup with Fennel and Lemon

Light enough for a summer dish, this terrific soup is also delicious in the winter months made with Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) mussels instead.

Curried Mussels

Curry powder and cilantro add zest to classic white wine-steamed mussels. Get the recipe for Curried Mussels » This version of Billi Bi, a famed French mussel soup, comes from cookbook author Andrea Reusing

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