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Mussels with Cider, Shallots, and Bacon

Mussels with Cider, Shallots, and Bacon

If you have a large pot and a few pounds of mussels, you can have a dinner party worthy meal on the tables in no time at all. Mussels are one of the easiest meals to prepare. All you need to do is give the mussels a quick scrub and soak, cook up a few aromatics for a broth to steam the mussels in, and five minutes cooking time. For Mussels with Cider, Shallots and Bacon, I decided to add some autumn flair but using apple cider instead of the more typical white wine as the base of the broth.

The website Serious Eats has a more detailed article on cleaning mussels if you would like a step-by-step guide. I have also included a video below. But, I promise, it is really easy and takes no time at all. Once you get the hang of it, you will be preparing mussels all the time!

While mussels and French fries (frites) are a popular combination in Belgium and France, I prefer to serve mussels with slices of nice bread. My favorites are a beautiful baguette or ciabatta. You will want to use the slices of bread to soak up the delicious broth.

So, let’s walk through the process. Heat a large pot over a medium flame and add oil olive and butter. When the oil and butter start to bubble, add the chopped bacon and cook for a few minutes.  Next you will add the shallots, garlics, and thyme and cook until they are soft. Finally, add the cider and mustard. Bring the broth to a boil before adding the cleaned mussels. The only need a few minutes to cook. Seriously easy, right?

Mussels with Cider Shallots and Bacon-2

If you would like a tasty beverage to accompany your mussels, I recommend either a crisp white wine, sparkling wine (bubbles go with everything), or a Belgian beer.  I love to serve this meal not only because it is delicious but it is a slow-paced meal which encourages conversation as you work your way through the mussels. Slow food at its best!

How to Make Mussels with Cider, Shallots, and Bacon

Mussels with Cider, Shallots, and Bacon Pin

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

I went through the first twenty-five years of my life thinking that I didn’t like beets. My only point of reference was the pickled beets that I encountered sliced up on salad bars. Those pickled beets just didn’t do it for me and never made their way to my plate.

Believe me when I tell you that back in the day, I knew a lot about salad bars. When I was in high school I worked at Burger King and back then BKs had salad bars where diners could make their own salads. I was the queen of that salad bar. I took pride in making sure that the salad bar looked fantastic when I was working. I would painstakingly arrange the kale (which was decorative in those days) around the containers of salad fixings. I would also make sure that the salad bar items were fresh and full and oh so tempting. I took it as a personal affront when people ordered hamburgers instead of a salad! But, I digress; let’s get back to this salad.

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

I can’t remember the exact moment when I first tried a roasted beet but it was well after my BK days. I just know that at some point I became a roasted beet fanatic. That discovery then led to me realize that I also love steamed beets, especially small beets. Their texture and flavor are well-suited to steaming.  In the notes section below you will find cooking directions for steaming, roasting, and microwaving beets. Yes, microwaving. Who knew? I tried the method listed below and it works well. But, I included all three methods because I wanted you to have a few options so you can pick your favorite cooking method.

Beets bring an earthy flavor and wonderful texture to salads. In this salad, I chose to use golden beets for a few reasons. Firstly, I prefer working with golden beets because my kitchen and I don’t end up looking like a crime scene which sometimes happens when working with red beets. Also, don’t the yellow beets look gorgeous with the orange segments and pieces of green pistachios? I can’t help it; I like my food to be colorful and coordinated.

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

Once your beets are cooked, this salad comes together in a snap. You could cook your beets ahead of time if you need to get dinner on the table quickly during the week or if you want to serve this salad as part of your menu for a dinner party.

The combination of the beets and beans gives this salad some heft making it a light and satisfying meal on its own. But, it can also be paired nicely with fish, chicken, or pork.

If you are a beet lover should also check out my recipe for beet gazpacho.

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

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