Spanish Mussels in a Saffron, Chorizo, Tomato & Sherry Broth

This cold front that’s swept over Northwest Arkansas is no good. I know that it’s much colder in other places, but frankly, that has nothing to do with how cold I am. And I’m very, very cold. My car registered between 2 and -1 during the course of my one mile commute this morning. I live in the South – we’re supposed to have one beautiful, powdery snow a year and then “bless the hearts” of those silly yankees in the frigid cities. 

To warm myself, I made this delicious Spanish-style mussel dish. Normally, I’d explain how much I love mussels because they’re such an economical, easy-to-make seafood. But since I added saffron, I don’t think I can play the “budget-savvy” card this evening. That’s fine, the delicious card trumps the frugal card at least sometimes every time. 

I started with olive oil and garlic and added thick-cut shallots. I don’t want to eat the shallots, but they do add so much flavor, so I coarsely chop them in order to easily avoid chewing on one: 

I wanted big, bold flavors, but not too heavy. I added diced, dried chorizo for some flavor depth to the broth: 

The combination of tomatoes and sherry is an easy winner. They’re great together. Like me and sunshine. Well, me and thinking about the sunshine. I actually burn easily. It turns out that there isn’t really a season for me. That’s another issue, though. I love the smell of sherry so much that after explaining to him how fantastic I think it is, I shoved the bottle under Husband’s nose. “Wow,” he said, “that’s booze, alright.” It is indeed booze, Husband, it is indeed. 

The broth is flavored with saffron, paprika, and crushed red pepper. My mother gave me the saffron in my stocking one year for Christmas and I use it so sparingly I’m sure it will expire before I use a quarter of it! But you can’t be frivolous with such fancy spices. 

After simmering all of these flavorful ingredients together, the final product has a generous cream swirl. I explained to Sammy that you aren’t really supposed to discuss how much you love heavy whipping cream. It’s okay to love it, but it’s one of those things you’ll have to love from afar. She seems to have understood. 

Unrelated: Sammy is still looking for her forever home! You want this dog. Adopt her. She’s the best. 

I served the mussels with nothing more than toasted French bread to soak up any leftover broth. Don’t bother making anything else – it’ll just be a distraction. 

Spanish Mussels in a Saffron, Chorizo, Tomato & Sherry Broth
Serves 4-6

You will need:
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry cooking sherry
  • 28 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 lbs. mussels, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook for about three minutes. 
  • Stir in chorizo and cook for an additional three minutes. 
  • Pour in sherry and increase heat to medium-high. 
  • Add tomatoes, undrained, paprika, saffron, black pepper, and red pepper. Wait for the mixture comes to a boil, then cook for five minutes more, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add mussels and parsley and cook for five minutes, until mussels are orange-ish in color. Discard any unopened mussels. 
  • Turn off heat and stir in heavy whipping cream until just combined. 
  • Serve hot, with warm, french bread. 
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