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Spicy Mussels with Bacon

I love eating mussels in the true Belgium style - big generous indulgent pot teaming with juicy morsels from the sea. This recipe is so yummy we could hardly stop eating them while testing. The leftover broth on the bottom is great soaked up with sticky rice.  


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 strips (3 ½ ounces, 100 grams) streaky bacon cut into lardon pieces

  • 1 large banana shallot, sliced thinly into rings

  • 2 large cloves of garlic, grated

  • ½ cup (95 grams) dry vermouth or white wine

  • ½ cup (100 milliliters) good chicken stock

  • 3 tablespoons mirin

  • 1 tablespoon Korean soybean paste (dwengjang)

  • 1 teaspoon Korean chili paste (gochujang)

  • 2 lbs (about 900 grams) mussels, cleaned and beards removed

  • 1 red chili, seeds in, sliced thinly into rings on a bias

  • Garnish

  • Handful chopped chives—into 1/2- to 1-inch (2-3 centimeter) pieces

  • Wedge of lemon to serve

  • Sticky rice to serve


  • 1.

    Drizzle oil into a 5½-quart dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add lardons and sauté until just browning on the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. 

  • 2.

    Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, another minute. 

  • 3.

    Add the vermouth or white wine and bring to a boil. 

  • 4.

    Add the chicken stock and then the mirin. Whisk in the dwengjang and gochujang until dissolved. 

  • 5.

    Stir in the red chilies and then the mussels. 

  • 6.

    Cover and shake occasionally to mix. 

  • 7.

    Cook about 3 minutes until the shells are all open. Discard any mussels that don’t open.

  • 8.

    Serve in large bowls to share and scatter chopped chives on top to garnish. Serve with rice on the side. 


Copyright, 2014, Judy Joo, All rights reserved

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