Spicy Mussels with Bacon

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I love eating mussels in the true Belgian style – big, generous, indulgent pot teaming with juicy morsels from the sea. This recipe is so yummy we could hardly stop eating them while testing. The leftover broth on the bottom is great soaked up with sticky rice.

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 strips (3 1/2 ounces/100 grams) streaky bacon, cut into lardon pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 large banana shallot, sliced thinly into rings
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (95 milliliters) dry vermouth or white wine
  • 1/2 cup (100 milliliters) good chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon doenjang (Koreansoybean paste)
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang (Korean chilepaste)
  • 1 red chilli, sliced thinly into rings on a bias, with seeds
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) mussels, cleaned and beards removed
  • Handful of chopped chives, for garnish
  • Wedges of lemon, for serving
  • Sticky rice, for serving

Method

  1. Drizzle the oil into a Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and saute until just browning on the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, another minute. Add the vermouth or white wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock and then the mirin. Whisk in the dwenjang and gochujang until dissolved. Stir in the red chiles and then the mussels. Cover and shake occasionally to mix. Cook until the shells are all open, about 3 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open.
  2. Serve in large bowls to share and scatter chopped chives on top to garnish. Serve with lemon wedges and sticky rice on the side.

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