Mussels (with chorizo, tomato & sherry)

Every time I cook this it is slightly different.  My husband prefers the “unctuous” version as he puts it, meaning a richer, deeper tasting broth, rather than the lighter “summer version” which I make with fresh tomatoes.  Both are good as long as you get the lovely fresh mussels.  Here in Spain 1kg of fresh cleaned mussels are so cheap     and delicious it would just be wrong not to cook with them. All the other ingredients are store cupboard staples, very typical here in Andalucia, but found easily elsewhere.    This is easy, quick, filling and a crowd pleaser.   As bizarre as it seems, I have to thank Waitrose in Henley on Thames, England,  for introducing us to this dish !

Serves 2

1 kg      Mussels, in their shell, cleaned

50g      Chorizo, cubed.  The fully cured, picante one is best*

0.5       Onion, diced.  Red is my favourite, but any is OK

50ml   Sherry

2         Garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 can   Chopped tomatoes

2tbs     Tomato puree

2tsp      Smoked paprika

Serve with chucnky slices of  white crusty rustic bread.  In Spain ask for a Chapata, it’s similar to a baguette, a little denser and made with olive oil.  To impress, oregano, chopped rosemary or parsley are all excellent optional garnishes.

1. Start off by frying the chopping chorizo until it just starts to char.  Then add the Sherry and glared and keep it all moving until the alcohol has burned off. Remove from pan keeping in the pan the oil that has come from the chorizo.

2.  Sauté the onion with the Paprika.  When translucent, add the tomatoes and tomato purée and heat until simmering.

3. You have a choice now.  Blitz the sauce in the pan with a hand blender for a thicker broth, or leave as is.  Taste. Add pepper if it needs seasoning but not salt.

4.  Add back the chorizo and garlic and bring heat back up to a simmer before adding the mussels on top and immediately putting the lid on.

5.  Wait just two minutes and have a peep.  If the mussels on top have opened, it’s ready!  If not, replace lid and wait another minute,

6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels and pour the broth/sauce over the top and serve with crusty bread and an empty bowl for the discarding the shells. A chuck of lemon is nice squeezed on top too, but not really traditional.

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