Chili Lime Mussels with Chickpeas
Whenever I used to crave mussels, it always required going to a restaurant because the ratio of the making part vs the eating part is extremely unbalanced. I don’t want to drive home with a bag of ice-covered mussels, praying they don’t die before I get home and I also don’t enjoy the de-bearding (scrubbing). And, truth be told, I do not want to be responsible for killing a live creature, be it mollusk, feathered or furry creature, in my own home. I like for the meats I eat to arrive at my home already dead, thanks very much.
So when I discovered fully-cooked mussels in the frozen food aisle, my heart went pitter-pat. Could it be true I could finally make mussels at home without the fuss? I bought the frozen 2lb bag with high hopes. My high hopes were rewarded with juicy mussels floating in their shells among tender chickpeas in a fiery tomato broth with a hint of citrus. Slurping this dish was a gastronomic pleasure improved only slightly by slices of crusty bread painted with olive oil for mopping up any remaining juices.
You will need (affiliate links):
A slotted spoon. This nylon one is affordable and has the perfect holes for draining.
A serving spoon. This one matches the slotted spoon above, same great value.
A stock pot perfect for soups, stews and pasta. I like the clear lid so I can see what’s going on without losing heat to check on the food.
CHILI LIME MUSSELS WITH CHICKPEAS
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 (15 oz) can diced, fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or more to taste)
2 lb all natural fully cooked mussels (No brand label, but in a red bag in frozen section)
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
crusty bread slices for dipping (optional)
Rinse mussels well, discarding any that are opened or chipped.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, wine, tomatoes, salt and sambal oelek and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the mussels to a serving bowl, discarding any that are unopened. Add the chickpeas and lime juice to the tomato broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes to reduce (thicken) slightly.
Pour the sauce over the mussels, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with a side of crusty bread, if using.