Mussels with chorizo are a delicious and full of flavor way to cook mussels and so easy to make. Spanish chorizo, shallots, white wine, fennel and tomatoes make up the delicious broth and the mussels are steamed until tender and perfect. This dish is so full of flavor and a real crowd-pleaser. These mussels make a great appetizer or light meal with an easy side of crostini for dipping into that delicious chorizo and tomato broth.
I came up with this recipe to recreate a dish that I tried at a local tapas restaurant here in Austin called Barlotta. It is one of my favorite places to eat and very authentic Spanish cuisine.
For this recipe, Spanish refers to the style of cooking mussels which is with the bold Spanish flavors of Spanish chorizo, shallots, wine, and tomatoes. Fennel is another wonderful addition to these Spanish mussels and it adds wonderful flavor.
With the flavors of the Fennel (a slight licorice flavor), the paprika and garlic in the Spanish chorizo, shallots, and white wine, this mussels recipe is packed with goodness.
The mussels are steamed at the very end and take just minutes to cook. This really simple Spanish appetizer (tapas) is made in one pot and it makes the perfect easy meal for any occasion.
In our house, Spanish tapas are made often because you can make small plates of many different dishes and eat a little of each one. We sometimes serve these mussels alongside our chorizo frito (another favorite tapas dish of ours.)
We love making these Spanish mussels as a main meal with some delicious Catalan tomato bread on the side but you can serve up a big pot of these mussels for a large group as well!
There are very few ingredients that you will need to make this mussels recipe. Because Spanish chorizo has so many spices in it, you do not have to add any extra to the recipe. All of that delicious flavor in the chorizo will render out during cooking and become part of the broth for the mussels.
Here is what you will need (full recipe below):
- Spanish chorizo: Spanish chorizo is not the same as Mexican chorizo so make sure you are buying a chorizo from Spain. The spices in Spanish chorizo from Spain are loaded with paprika and garlic and are so delicious.
- White wine: The white wine in this mussels recipe helps deglaze the pot and it makes that delicious broth.
- Water: Just a little to help the mussels steam and for the broth.
- Fennel: Both the fennel bulb and the fennel fronds. The addition of fennel is something that was introduced to me at a local Spanish tapas restaurant that has cuisine inspired by neighborhoods all around Barcelona. There are many different cultures there and many non-traditional ingredients are mixed in with the local Spanish cuisine. Fennel is one of those. It really works with the strong bold flavors of the chorizo.
- Shallot: This just adds to the aromatics in the recipe. Instead of a full Spanish sofrito, we are using shallot and fennel.
How to make
This Spanish mussels recipe is so easy to make. I mean really easy. You can have this entire meal ready and on the table in just 20 minutes. It looks so much fancier than a meal that cooks this fast and tastes like it came from a restaurant.
- Cook Chorizo: You dice up the chorizo into small bite-sized pieces and saute it until it starts to crisp up and release all of that delicious chorizo flavor into the pot.
- Saute Shallot and Fennel: Now you saute the shallot and fennel (just the fennel bulbs at this point) and let them both cook in that delicious chorizo fat.
- Deglaze with wine and add tomatoes: When the fennel and shallots are cooked, deglaze the pan with white wine and let it cook for a few minutes so the alcohol evaporates. Once this happens, add the tomatoes and give it a good stir.
- Add water: The last part of making the broth for the mussels is adding a little water to the pot. This helps thin out the tomatoes.
- Steam mussels: The very last step is to steam the mussels. To do this just add the mussels into the pot that is simmering over medium heat, cover with a lid, and allow the mussels to cook for about 3-4 minutes. You know they are ready when they open up.
At the very end, right before I serve these Spanish mussels, I like to add in the fennel fronds. I give them a light chop then stir some into the pot with the steamed mussels and then garnish the mussels with the remainder.
It adds a beautiful green contrast to the vibrant red chorizo broth.
How to prep mussels
In case you need help preparing mussels for cooking, here are some best practices taught to me by my local fish monger where I buy my mussels from:
Soak mussels in water
The first thing you want to do before cooking your mussels is place them in a very large bowl with ice water for about 5 -10 minutes. Not longer or the tap water can hurt the live mussels. This step allows the mussels to drink some fresh water to filter out sediment. The mussels should close up after a minute or so. This step also helps you determine if the mussels are good. If they float to the top they need to be checked to determine if they are alive. I talk about this in step 2.
Drain the mussels
At this point, you drain the mussels that were in the bowl of water and now you want to check and make sure they are all alive before cooking them. You do not want to eat a mussel that was dead before cooking. To check if they are alive, pick up each mussel and press it together if it is open. Give it a few seconds to see if it starts to close up. Remember, they are a bit lethargic being in cold water so give them a chance to close. If they do not close, discard them.
Clean the mussels
Most mussels that you buy are usually very clean. Mussels go through an entire conveyor belt of cleaning before heading to the fish markets. However, every once in a while, a little bit of the mussel's beard or some barnacles will be present and need to be cleaned.
If there is stringy stuff hanging from the mussels, this is the beard and you can cut it with scissors or a sharp knife to remove it. Barnacles can be scrubbed off with a scouring pad.
When I buy mussels, I always like to plan for 2-3 mussels that will not make it. I go to a very reputable fish market to buy my mussels but even with that, there are always a few that die.
It can happen in transport, during the soaking, etc. Try to plan for losing a few when figuring out how many you want to eat.
You cannot have Spanish mussels without a delicious glass of wine. At least I think so 🙂 Here are favorite wine pairings for these Spanish mussels:
- Italian Gavi: If you are not familiar with Gavi wine, it is one of my favorites. It is a really crisp Italian white wine that goes so well with this recipe.
- Spanish Rioja: This is a nice bold full-bodied red wine from Spain. There are different riojas from the northern region of Spain that all work great with this dish.
Now, if wine is not what you are looking for, you can make a delicious and easy red sangria to round out the whole tapas experience.
What to serve with mussels
If you are looking for ideas of what to serve with this Spanish mussels recipe, here are our favorites:
Mussels are a delicious and easy dish that makes an amazing broth when cooked. We love serving mussels with crusty bread, potato wedges or fries to dip into the broth.
The key to making mussels that are tender is to not overcook them. We prefer steaming mussels to boiling them since this is a more gentle way of cooking them. Mussels are finished cooking when their shells open up so try not to cook them too much longer once this happens.
More Chorizo Recipes
If you love these Spanish mussels with chorizo, you may also like these:
Spanish Mussels Recipe
- 20 Large mussels Cleaned and prepped (see post for how to prep)
- 1 Small Fennel, bulb and fronds thin slice the fennel bulb and coarse chop the fronds.
- 8 ounces whole tomatoes
- 8 ounces Spanish Chorizo diced
- ½ cup Dry white wine
- ½ cup Water
- 1 Shallot thin sliced
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook chorizo for about 3-4 minutes or until it starts to crisp up and release its juices.8 ounces Spanish Chorizo
- Now add the sliced fennel (not the frond tops) and shallot and cook until soft.1 Small Fennel, bulb and fronds, 1 Shallot
- Add white wine and cook for 1 minute.½ cup Dry white wine
- Add tomatoes and mash down then stir.8 ounces whole tomatoes
- Add water and mix well then bring to a simmer.½ cup Water
- Once simmering, add mussels then place a lid on the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes.20 Large mussels
- Remove lid and make sure all of the mussels have opened. If they have not, cook for an additional minute.
- Discard any mussels that did not open.
- Add chopped fennel fronds to the pot and mix well.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
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