4 1/2 lb mussels, scrubbed, beards removed
1/2 large carrot
1/2 large turnip
2 large pickling onions (or 1/2 small onion), sliced finely
1 1/2 oz butter
5/8 cup beer
3 heaped tbsps chopped parsley
freshly milled black pepper
Belgium is one of the greatest beer-drinking countries in the world. The Belgians are also intrepid mussel eaters, and their boats haul in an export mussel crop second to none. To combine these two Belgian passions, what better recipe than this one, which cooks the mussels in root vegetables and beer?
Cut the peeled carrot and turnip into neat 5 mm cubes. In a large saucepan or wide pan with a lid, heat the butter and saute the carrot and turnip without browning until well greased and shiny, then add the onion and turn a few seconds. Add the beer, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until the root vegetables are softened and the beer is reduced to nothing and has slightly caramelised on the base of the pan. Now add the scrubbed mussels, pepper them, cover, raise the heat again and steam the mussels until they open, shaking the pot or turning the top mussels to the bottom at least once.
As soon as the mussels open, throw in the parsley, stir two or three times and serve immediately in wide soup bowls. Add a ladle of vegetables and juice to the base of the bowl. Pepper as with moules marinieres, do not expect everybody to eat all the soup.