1 post tagged broth
We love dinner parties.
Opening your home to friends and feeding them is a powerful, loving gesture. To be completely cheesy— and completely honest— they’ve led to some of the best memories of our 20’s. The crappy apartments, everyone cramped around a coffee table because no one has a dining room table (or dining room for that matter), chain smoking on the porch with too many cups of coffee and rhubarb crisp, ridiculous after-dinner cocktails fueling ridiculous after-dinner board games, and the weird, wonderful, conversations that happen when you pump your friends full of booze and other carbohydrates.
The only problem is that dinner parties are usually cost prohibitive and labor intensive. You can pass off some duties— there’s always someone that wants to bring hooch, and everyone has a friend who’s all “omg cupcakes are tooootally my thing.” But responsibility deferred only does so much, and some things are hard to make cheaper or easier. Six portions of meat is always going to cost six portions worth of money and three side dishes for six people divided by the square root of something minus your will to live times standing in your kitchen for probably ever plus remembering to put out little bowls of snacks because nothing is going to be ready when people arrive.
It’s hard for everyone to have fun when their host has been in the kitchen for eight hours and feels financially tapped. Over the years, Rachel has made it a priority to develop recipes she can easily throw together on the cheap, because, when you do it in a way that’s right for you, we think that feeding your friends is the most fun you can have with your pants on. We felt it fitting to share our favorite, cheapest, most delicious recipe with you for our first real post since the re-launch.
Mussels are basically free and are available basically everywhere. We have a Chicago fish monger that we love, but, when they’re out, we go to Whole Foods or even Costco for perfectly delicious $4/lb bivalves. Add a few baguettes and wilted greens or pick up some frites with mayonnaise, and you will have a fucking feast on your (coffee) table in less than 20 minutes for about $5 per person.
Mussels with Shallots and Beer
- 2lbs of mussels, cleaned and sorted
- 2 shallots, sliced fine
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tbsp of butter
- 2 beers
- About 6 turns of a pepper grinder
- 1 handful of roughly chopped parsley
Serves: 4 very hungry people, 6 if you have a bunch of sides, and the recipe easily doubles (and triples).
It’s worth noting that most stores sell cleaned, debearded mussels that are ready to cook, but it’s best to double check. The BBC does a pretty good job describing the process, and we really love this video because it goes into detail on identifying dead shellfish, which are basically a one way ticket to the emergency room toilets.
In your biggest, heaviest pot, melt 4 table spoons of butter. Add 2 thinly sliced shallots and just enough salt to help draw out some moisture, sautee over medium heat. Once the shallots become translucent and tender, toss in one bay leaf and the mussels, making sure that any dead, cracked, damaged, smelly, or weird ones have been thrown away or were never purchased in the first place. Crank up the heat to high and add your two beers. The pot should be about 1/3 of the way full if it’s a dutch oven like ours; about half of the mussels should be submerged in beer. Close the lid and let the mussels cook.
About 3 minutes into the cooking, it’s a very good idea to stir the mussels. You’ll see shells starting to open and an amazing sauce coming together from the butter, mussel juice, and beer.
3-5 minutes after you first stirred, for a total cooking time of 6-8 minutes, all of the mussels should be open and ready to eat. Congratulations on murdering 35-50 bivalves.
Taste the broth and add salt, as needed. Now is also the time to add pepper, and parsley. Discard any mussels that did not completely open during cooking. Serve immediately, in bowls, with plenty of good bread to soak up the delicious juice.
It feels like a no-brainer, but mussels do not keep well. If the meal is over and there are leftover mussels and juice, do your household a favor and throw them away that night.