Beer-Steamed Mussels with Bacon, Leek and Cream

Beer-Steamed Mussels with Bacon, Leek and Cream
Serves 4 as an appetizer, or two for dinner.  

Mussels can make for a delicious, quick and flavorful dinner option. You’ll feel like you are transported to your favourite bistro for dinner!   The best thing about mussels is that they produce their own broth–and the beer adds depth and richness to this broth, enhancing the overall taste of the mussels.   Leek & cream is a great way to enjoy mussels in the cooler months.   And as an added bonus, Mussels are a good source of various B vitamins, including B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B6 (pyridoxine), which are essential for metabolism and overall health and contain antioxidants like selenium, which can help support a healthy immune system!   

2 lbs mussels, scrubbed
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 large leeks, white part only, finely sliced
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced or sliced thin
¾ cup of dark beer
4-5 sprigs each fresh thyme & parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
Chopped fresh herbs, about 2 tbsp. such as thyme or parsley
1/2 cup 35% cream
1 tsp Sherry Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper, as needed 

  1. Clean, scrub and debeard mussels.  Discard any cracked or opened mussels.  Place in a bowl. We'll often then shake the bowl vigorously at this point, which will help close any mussels that might be slightly open.  Place a damp paper towel over top and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.   
  2. In a large pot or pan with a lid, fry bacon until almost crisp over medium heat. 
  3. Reduce heat and sweat leeks with bacon until soft, adding garlic for the last 30 seconds or so.  
  4. Increase heat: add mussels and fry for about 2 minutes before adding beer,  herbs and cream.  Be sure to pick up the mussels and place in, as opposed to dumping in from the bowl.  You want to leave behind any residual liquid in the bowl.  
  5. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until all shells are opened, 3-5 minutes.  
  6. Mussels are cooked to perfection as soon as they open. Take open mussels out of pan and place in serving bowls; discard any un-opened mussels.  
  7. Lastly, add vinegar, taste for seasoning, and pour sauce over mussels.  

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Beer, Cheese & Potato Soup with Sausage-Pretzel Einlagen

Beer, Cheese & Potato Soup with Sausage-Pretzel Crumble

Serves 4 as an appetizer 

The cheese & beer is front and centre in this rich soup!   With a fun topping (einlagen!) of sausage and buttery pretzels, it is addictive bite after bite!  This is Oktoberfest in a bowl, but we are certain you’ll be making it year-round!  

2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1⁄4 lb. / 125 g grated cheese, such as an aged cheddar, gouda or gruyere-type cheese

2 tbsp. butter
1 large cooking onion, thinly sliced
1 rib celery, finely diced
1⁄2 tsp. ground cardamom
1⁄2 lb. yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1-cup beer (a lager works well!)
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1⁄2 lb. Oktoberfest sausage meat
1 large pretzel
1⁄2 shallot, finely diced, optional
Salt & pepper, as needed

  1. In a small pot melt butter and stir in flour to make a light roux
  2. Slowly stir in milk. Bring to a simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes
  3. Turn off heat and stir in cheese. Set aside
  4. In another pot, melt butter and sweat onion and celery until soft but not browned.
  5. Stir in cardamom, potatoes and beer. Let simmer for a couple of minutes to reduce the beer, and then add in the water and bay leaves. Simmer until potatoes are very soft. Blend until smooth in blender or with hand blender.
  6. Meanwhile, make pretzel topping (einlagen): in a frying pan over medium-high heat, fry sausage until crisp. Stir in shallot, if using, sauté for about a minute and stir in pretzel pieces. Stir to coat in fat, reduce heat to low and allow the pretzel to crisp, 2-3 minutes.   
  7. Fold the cheese sauce into the blended potato soup and taste for seasoning.   Rewarm over medium-low heat if necessary. 
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with a generous amount of sausage- pretzel einlagen!


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