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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Casual New Years Meal: Tequila-Drunken Mussels and Chorizo with Roasted Peppers

This New Years eve I'm looking forward to a simple night at home. No big fan fare, no cover charge and no waiting for a cab. The holiday season has taken its toll on me and I'm looking forward to curling up with a good movie; perhaps a rousing game of Wii tennis just to get the blood flowing.

The food for the evening needs to match my casual plans: comforting but not heavy. December is prime mussel month and it would be a shame to not take this last chance to enjoy them.

Adding tequila to a classic wine broth along with the lime really adds a punch to the mussels; these are stout, not for the faint boozer. The chorizo and roasted peppers add heartiness to the meal.

Enjoy Fat and Happy mussels and chorizo for the casual night at home. This dinner filled two of us with a few uneaten mussels and sausages left over. It could be stretched for four if you are light eaters and/or have an appetizer or dessert planned.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: Eat shellfish in months ending in an 'R' (October, November, December...)  Shellfish spawn in the summer months and were thought to be toxic. Many distributors now ship-in shellfish from cooler climate areas during these months, but I would suggest knowing where your food is coming from.

Tequila-laden Chipotle Mussels

1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup tequila
4 large shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tbls butter
2 Tbls each, chopped parsley and cilantro
1 lime
2 Tbls olive oil
Big loaf of sourdough bread

Mince the shallots and the garlic. Cook the shallots in the olive oil over medium low heat until they begin to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Careful not to burn or char them. Add in the garlic and continue to cook another minute.

Turn the heat to high, add in the wine and tequila and bring to a boil. Add in the mussels, in a single layer if possible and cover. Check the mussels after about 3-4 minutes. You want them all to be open. Cook another minute or two as needed.

Turn off the heat, add in the parsley, the cilantro, the butter, the chipotle pepper and then squeeze 1/2 a lime over it all. Toss well and let sit with the cover on for another minute.

Pour the mussels and all the sauce into a bowl. Discard any mussels that did not open. Cut the remaining 1/2 lime into wedges and add to the mussels. Serve with a crusty bread and an extra bowl to throw the shells in.

 Chorizo with Roasted Peppers

2 chorizo sausages
1 large bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), roasted
1/2 red onion, sliced (roughly 1 cup sliced)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup white wine
Olive or canola oil

In a medium-sized sauce pan, brown the sausages over medium high heat on each side. Add the sliced red onion and tablespoon of olive or canola oil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook until the onions begin to caramelize and the sausages are fully cooked, tossing often.

Roast the pepper and scrape off the skin while the sausage is cooking if it's not roasted yet.

Remove the sausages and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the roasted pepper, add to the onions along with the minced garlic, toss well and cook for another minute. Slice the sausages, add the sausages and the wine to the onions, simmer for minute, cover and turn off the heat. Let rest until the mussels are ready.
Pour into a dish and serve while warm with a crusty bread.


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