Usually when we think about Irish food, our thoughts default to anything with potatoes, Shepherd's Pie, Irish stew, Soda Bread, cabbage, mashed Potatoes ... BUT why don't we think about seafood?! Ireland is pretty much surrounded by salt water! I've been doing some Irish recipe research and found that they do indeed have lots of seafood in their cuisine. So ... I'm using some of the best mussels on the planet to share with you Guinness & Cream Mussels. I was inspired by a recipe in a cookbook showcasing recipes from Irish Pubs.
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What are these "best mussels on the planet" you are touting?
I live in the Pacific Northwest, near Seattle. Seafood is so fresh here and the coveted mussels come from Coupeville, WA, on Whidbey Island in Penn Cove. Yep! Some of the best! We refer to them as Penn Cove Mussels, plain and simple. Wherever you are, find the freshest and best you can!
How to prepare mussels for Guinness and Cream Mussels
Wash them well. Scrape off any excess barnacle-type growth. You can use a fish tweezer to do this. Barnacles are some type of weird underwater suspension feeder that attaches to other things. They are basically leeches and have little to no value except that they look really cool!
Remove the beard. The beard is the little bit of hairy thing sticking out of the shell on one side. Some mussels have no beard and some have lots. Just be sure to get rid of it! The size of the mussel has no bearing on whether it has a beard or not.
Make sure all mussels are closed. If they aren't, tap on the shell. Hello?! Hello in there! If they are fresh, they will close. If they don't, discard them.
OK ... on to the meal!
As most mussel recipes start out, this one starts with some aromatics being sauteed... shallots, garlic, parsley, and thyme.
Then the magic starts with a just bit of Guinness. Or a bit more if you want. Or save the rest to enjoy with your meal. You do you.
Add the Guinness to the pot along with with cream. Be sure to temper the cream ... which means to bring it to the same temperature as what you are adding it to. You can do that easily by warming it on the stove or in the microwave.
Add in the mussels and simmer for 6-8 minutes till all the mussels open. If any shells don't open, discard them. They don't love you and you shouldn't love them. They will make you sick.
How to serve Guinness and Cream Mussels
Serve Guinness and Cream Mussels with slices of hearty bread slathered with Irish (or at least, grass-fed) butter. Dip it into the that gorgeous broth and enjoy a beautiful meal.
Other seafood recipes you might like (albeit not necessarily Irish):
Guinness and Cream Mussels
- 2 pounds fresh mussels debearded and rinsed in cold water
- 2 shallots chopped small
- 4 cloves garlic chopped small
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ cup Guinness
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 2 Tablespoon butter Kerrygold
- lemon wedges for serving
- crusty bread for serving
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the shallots and saute until they are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, thyme, Guinness, half-and-half, and butter.
- Add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the mussels open. Discard any that do not open.
- To serve, dish the mussels into shallow bowls and ladle the broth over them. Serve with a lemon wedge and slices of crusty bread to sop up the juice.