These delicious cajun mussels are cooked alongside flavorful andouille sausage and then smothered in a spicy golden broth! Ready in just 30 minutes, this elegant meal is perfect for date night!
Mussels are something that I only began cooking at home about a year ago. On our move out to Boston, Viktor and I stayed at a bed and breakfast in upstate New York that had the most amazing cajun mussels. They were cooked in a spicy broth and served with toasted baguette slices. It was so good that we finished not only the mussels, but also used the bread to soak up every last drop of the delicious sauce! After devouring the meal, I knew I would need to learn how to make something similar!
After trying out numerous recipes with mussels, I’ve finally settled on my ideal version of cajun mussels! The mussels are accompanied by andouille sausage and steamed in a spicy and creamy tomato broth. The recipe can be made with either fresh or frozen mussels and is on the table in half an hour!
how to clean and debeard live mussels
Mussels can seem a bit intimidating to cook at home, but they’re really one of the easiest types of seafood to prepare. Just remember these few quick tips and you’ll already be an expert!
- If you’re using live mussels, make sure to cook them in the first few days after you buy them as they won’t keep very long in the fridge.
- Because you only want to use mussels with fully closed shells, start by discarding any mussels with cracked or damaged shells. When you find mussels with open shells, tap them lightly against your counter. If the shell closes, it means the mussel is alive and okay to use. If the shell remains open, discard as the mussel may have gone bad.
- Some mussels may have already been debearded — if not, you’ll need to pull out the beards yourself (they look like a small mass of tiny hair-like fibers). You can easily remove the beard by pulling it directly away from the mussel.
- Finally, make sure to gently scrub clean the mussel shells to remove any remaining debris.
how to prepare mussels
Now that the mussels are cleaned, debearded and ready to use, it’s time to cook them! One of the easiest ways to cook mussels is to steam them. To do so, you just need to place the mussels in a pan with a bit of liquid (ideally this creamy cajun broth!), cover and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until the shells have opened. At this point, you can discard any of the mussels that haven’t opened.
If you buy frozen mussels, you don’t need to thaw them — just add them straight to the pan! Most frozen mussels are already fully cooked, so we’re really just warming them up. One advantage of using frozen mussels is that you don’t have to take as many precautions to make sure the mussels are fresh. Sure, you should still discard any chipped or damaged shells, but other than that you can be reasonably certain that the mussels were frozen while still fresh, which means there’s no need to worry about how opened or closed the shells are during cleaning and cooking.
creamy cajun broth
Now that we’ve chatted extensively about mussels, let’s get to that spicy golden broth that our mussels are swimming in! I always start by sauteing spicy sliced sausage. While I used andouille here, feel free to mix it up with whatever you can find — I sometimes make this recipe with chorizo and it’s just as delicious! The rest of the broth consists of a few aromatics, chopped tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth seasoned with paprika, oregano and a bit of cayenne. The result is an incredibly flavorful sauce that I could eat by the spoonful! While you could leave it at that, I always pour in a bit of heavy cream after the mussels have finished cooking for a luscious finish. And don’t forget the crusty baguette — you’re going to want to soak up every last bit of this broth!
- olive oil 1 tsp
- andouille sausage 8 oz (230 g)
- butter 2 tbsp (30 g)
- onion 1 small
- garlic 3 cloves
- tomatoes 2 medium
- paprika 1 tsp
- dried oregano ½ tsp
- cayenne ¼ tsp
- salt and pepper to taste
- white wine ½ c (120 ml)
- chicken broth 2 c (480 ml)
- mussels* 2 lbs (1 kg)
- heavy cream ½ c (120 ml)
- parsley to taste
- toasted french bread for serving
- Slice the andouille sausage and chop the onion, garlic and tomato. Clean the mussels and discard any with damaged shells (for full cleaning and debearding instructions, see above post).
- Add the olive oil and sausage to a large pot over medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minute or until browned, stirring occasionally.
- Melt the butter in the pan and then add in the onion. Cook for an additional five minutes or until translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook one to two minutes.
- Stir in the chopped tomato, paprika, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for one minute.
- Pour in the white wine and cook for 3-4 minutes, scraping the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in the chicken broth and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Add the mussels. Cover the pot and cook over medium-high heat until all mussels are open (about 3-5 minutes). If using fresh mussels, discard any mussels that haven't opened.
- Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted french bread.
- mussels: While this recipe was written for fresh mussels, frozen mussels would work as well! Most frozen mussels that you buy in the store are already fully cooked so we're essentially just reheating them. To use them in this recipe, you can even add them directly to the pan without thawing them!
If you’re looking for more seafood recipes or quick date night meals, you should definitely look into these easy and delicious seared scallops with fresh avocado cream or make these impressive (and incredibly easy!) broiled lobster tails with garlic butter!