Cooking Up a Hooley in The Kitchen: Savory, Simple, and Satisfying Mussels & Brown Bread
By Katie Gagne
Summer is winding down and you’ve had your fill of those seasonal salads and picnic foods, yet you are not ready for full-on cozy, comfort dishes. This very tasty and quick meal is satisfying, and full of lots of flavor.
Spirited Mussels with Irish Brown Bread
4 lbs PEI Mussels
1 stick (8 tbsp) Unsalted Butter
3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 large Carrot – peeled and diced
1 medium Red Pepper — diced
2 large shallots — diced
1 Lemon – cut into slices
Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tbsp Black Pepper
2 Bay Leaves
1 bottle of your favorite Irish beer. I love red ales like Smithwick’s for this
1 ½ cups Heavy Cream
Optional Fresh Herbs – Parsley, Fennel, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Verbena
I used approx. ½ cup total of these herbs minced
Place mussels in a large bowl filled with cold water and allow to sit for thirty minutes.
Remove each mussel and scrub the outside of each to remove any dirt. Remove any strands of fibers (beards) hanging out of the mussels. Discard any mussels that are cracked or open.
Place cleaned mussels on a towel to dry as you prepare the broth.
In a large pot – sauté the carrots, garlic cloves, red pepper, shallots in the butter over medium heat for approximately 3-4 minutes.
Add in the lemon slices, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and beer. Cook for another five minutes until the liquid reduces by half.
Add in the lemon juice and zest, heavy cream and optional herbs and continue cooking for another three to four minutes until it thickens a bit.
Add in the mussels, put a lid on the pot, and cook for another five to six minutes until the mussels open.
Spoon mussels into serving bowl and ladle the broth over the mussels.
Serve with the brown bread.
Serves 4 people.
Irish Brown Bread with Sundried Tomatoes and Asiago Cheese
While this is most assuredly not your traditional Irish Brown Bread, the addition of the tomatoes and cheese adds delicious flavor to this sweet and crusty bread.
2 cups Whole wheat Flour
2 cups AP Flour
2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Garlic Powder
½ cup Rolled Oats
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 ¾ cup Buttermilk
2 tbsp Molasses
2 cups shredded Asiago Cheese
½ cup chopped Sundried Tomatoes (from a jar – packed in oil)
Preheat oven to 400*
Line a round cake pan or cast-iron skillet with parchment paper
In a medium bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.
Add molasses to buttermilk and stir until combined
Make a small well in the dry ingredients and poor the buttermilk mixture into it and with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula mix until a soft stick dough forms.
Add in the cheese and tomatoes and mix until they are fully incorporated.
With well-floured hands, put dough on floured surface and knead a few times and form into a round mound.
Place the round loaf into the pan and cut a cross on the top.
Bake at 400* for fifteen minutes, then reduce the heat to 350* and continue baking for approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes.
Once the bread is fully cooked, remove from the oven and drizzle with salty, sweet mixture and return to oven for two minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for fifteen minutes. This can be served warm or at room temperature with butter. Of course, its terrific to use to sop up the broth from the mussels.
In a small bowl or cup, stir together 1 ½ tbsp Kosher Salt, 1 cup Granulated Sugar, and enough water to make a glaze.
*Katie Gagne teaches English at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights. She is also the owner of her in-home bakery Sassy’s Sweets and Oh So Much More. You can contact her at (440) 773-4459 or at email@example.com, or find her on Facebook at @sassyssweetsandmore.