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Mussels, a typically-Belgian dish!

Mussels, a typically-Belgian dish!

With or without chips, Belgians will never tire of eating mussels. The real issue is always the same: how can one prepare these strange-looking molluscs to turn them into an unusual, appetising dish?

Cook's hat in place, solemnly dressed in a black, yellow and red apron, the avid cook deep inside all of us just needs the right ingredients to prepare a feast fit for a king. To prepare mussels in a typically-Belgian style, opt for a pan of «moules à la bière» (mussels cooked in beer).

Ingredients

For four persons, we recommend the following proportions:

  • 6 kg washed and brushed mussels
  • 2 dl fresh cream
  • 100 grams butter
  • 20 grams flour
  • 400 grams onions and celery
  • a glass of white wine and above all
  • 33 cl Maredsous beer (or a Trappist beer for more punctilious cooks).
  • And don't forget salt and pepper.

Recipe

In a large pan:

  • fry the finely chopped onions and celery.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • After this preparatory phase, add the white wine, a glass of water and half the bottle of beer.

The comes the moment we have been waiting for: add the mussels! Cook on a high heat, keep your eye on the mixture and stir often.

At the end, pour the juice from the mussels into another pan and

  • add the remaining beer.
  • The sauce must then boil.
  • Thicken with the butter mixed with the flour.
  • Add the fresh cream and leave to thicken further.

Pour the mussels into soup dishes and cover with the sauce. Always go for a low-alcohol beer, irrespective of which one you choose (Trappist or Maredsous) to avoid inebriating the mussels. You have to choose between drinking and eating! "Bon appétit". Nicolas Alsteen

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