1 tablespoon cooking oil, rendered lard or bacon grease
1 pound chorizo, half separated from casings and the remainder sliced into coins
1/2 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground (substitute ground if seeds are not available)
1 cup light beer (any light lager will work great, enjoy the remaining while cooking:)
1 can stewed tomatoes (10-14oz.)
2 cups shellfish, chicken or vegetable stock
3-4 pounds California Black Mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (or fresh black mussels from a reputable fish-monger or specialty grocer)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 pound of butter, sliced into pads and kept refrigerated
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 loaf of country-style sourdough, thickly sliced and toasted or grilled
Italian flat-leaf parsley, watercress, or arugula leaves and olive oil (optional garnishes)
- Heat a cast-iron dutch oven or heavy bottom stock pot with a lid on medium high heat.
- Add the cooking oil/fat and sauté the sausage that you removed from the links. Break it up into small chunks with a wooden spoon and allow it to brown slightly.
- When the sausage is browned, remove most of it from the pan reserving some of the cooking oil/fat in the pot and set the sausage aside.
- Sauté the onion in the cooking oil/fat until it is translucent. When the minced onion is cooked, add the sausage back to the pot.
- Add the garlic, chili flakes and cumin seeds and sauté with the sausage/onion until fragrant.
- When you smell the garlic and spices, add the beer, stewed tomatoes and stock and reduce just slightly.
- Add the mussels and remaining sausage and cover cooking vessel with lid.
- Steam the mussels on medium-high heat until they open, approximately 8-10 minutes.
- When the mussels are opened, using a slotted spoon transfer them to a large serving bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to retain moisture while you finish the sauce.
- Using the released mussel liquor and tomato/chorizo infused broth that should still be in the cooking vessel, whisk the tomato paste and then the butter into the broth to enrich and thicken.
- Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. This will make a delicious sauce for the shellfish, so if you want more to go around feel free to add a bit more stock or even some water.
- Pour some of the sauce over the mussels and any remaining should be served on the side with the toasted bread.
- Garnish with the fresh herbs and a heavy drizzle of olive oil.