Mussels and Chorizo in Saffron-Garlic Broth

“I don’t eat mussels in restaurants unless I know the chef, or have seen, with my own eyes, how they store and hold their mussels for service. I love mussels. But, in my experience, most cooks are less than scrupulous in their handling of them. It takes only a single bad mussel, one treacherous little guy hidden among an otherwise impeccable group … If I’m hungry for mussels, I’ll pick the good-looking ones out of your order.”Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

Having inspected my own mussels (and discarding nearly 20% of them as cracked or open), I can see his point. This recipe is especially nice when New Zealand green-lipped mussels are available, but shown above with Prince Edward Island (PEI). Served with a crusty baguette, this recipe doesn’t generate a ton of broth, but its flavor is concentrated. You could double the sauce for 4 or just half the mussels to serve 2 if you’re looking to sop up a lot of bread.

Some notes on mussels: be sure to take them out of the bag when you get home to let them BREATHE and store in a cool place. They can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Place in a bowl with room at the top and cover with a soaked then wrung towel to cover (they need moisture, but not too much). If any mussels are open at first, you can tap them gently on the counter and if they don’t close up in a few minutes, then discard. Clean by soaking (then scrubbing), discard any open or cracked mussels, and debeard towards the hinge to avoid tearing.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • large pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/4 pound Spanish chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into very thin slices
  • 1 cup fish stock (you may substitute water, I used white wine)
  • 1/2 cup Pomi brand strained tomatoes or 1/2 cup tomato purée
  • dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned, scrubbed, and debearded (about 25 large New Zealand mussels or 40 to 60 regular mussels)


  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Dutch Oven


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over moderately low heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, garlic, and saffron, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until onion is softened but not browned. Stir in the chorizo, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the fish stock and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add crushed hot red pepper flakes to taste. Add the mussels, and cover tightly. Cook over high heat, shaking the pot once or twice during the cooking to move the mussels around, or stirring the mussels quickly with a large spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. (Discard any that have not opened.)
  3. Spoon the mussel mixture into deep soup bowls and serve hot with crusty bread.

*Serves 4.

All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.