Cider Mussels

I don’t know about you, but there is something about the fall season that compels me to buy these big gallon jugs of apple cider. The practical Southern husband valiantly tries to remind me that maybe a smaller container will do. That they do sell cider in quarts, and that maybe the last several hundred times I bought the giant gallon container maybe we didn’t actually drink all of it, because after the first glass or two or three of cider I am kinda done with the apple cider experience for another season.

But I don’t listen, because you never know when you are going to need some apple cider and not have some, and so there the giant vat of cider sits, taking up valuable room in the fridge that could be used for other items. And that’s a perfect time to haul out this recipe, which calls for using a nice big helping of cider to steam up a plate of mussels. It also calls for cream, and for brandy, and for bacon. Are you with me? I know you are. It’s enough to make you want to run out right this minute and buy a giant vat of cider, right?

Two special notes about this recipe. First of all, while you don’t have to, the thick-cut variety of bacon is absolute heaven with this particular recipe. Second, make sure you read the little note at the end of the recipe about what to serve this dish with. I promise it’s worth it.

Cider Mussels
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1½ cups apple cider
  • 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and bearded. Toss out any open ones.
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  1. Place onion, cider and mussels in large pan. Cover tightly, bring to a boil and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer mussels to a large serving dish and cover to keep warm.
  3. Add brandy and cream to liquid remaining the pan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with pepper.
  4. Pour cider cream over mussels. Mix in bacon and parsley. Serve at once.
Note: I have served this with warm sliced bread to mop up the sauce (trust me, you will want to mop up the sauce). can cook up a pot of linguine and assemble as follows on individual plates: linguine, topped by mussels, topped by cider cream, topped by bacon and parsley. The cream sauce will sink down into the pasta on the bottom. If you try this version, invite me for dinner!

Recipe adapted from Cold-Weather Cooking


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  1. Nutmeg Nanny says

    Apple cider is delicious! Our local apple cider mill makes the best :) We usually drink some and then make our own hard sparkling cider with the rest…yum! These muscles sounds delicious too…do you deliver :)


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