Steamed mussels with fennel, garlic & chorizo

Grill some sourdough, rub with garlic and drizzle with olive oil for the perfect accompaniment to the mussel sauce.


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 120g Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 trimmed baby fennel, sliced
  • 2 tsp smoky sweet paprika
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 kg mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • To serve: sourdough bread, garlic and olive oil


Heat oil in a large, heavy casserole pot over medium heat and fry chorizo slices until golden. Remove, put to one side, then reduce heat to low.

Add onion, garlic and salt. Cook for 5-8 minutes. Add fennel and good-quality paprika (the La Chinata brand is perfect) and continue to cook for another five minutes.

Add sherry, cook for 2 minutes, until slightly reduced. Add tomato paste, stir well and cook for 1 minute, then add tinned tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.

Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Place mussels in sauce, stir through and cover with a lid. Continue to cook, shaking occasionally, until mussels are ready, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir through parsley, lemon juice and pepper.

Serve in the pot at the table with grilled garlic sourdough slices (see recipe introduction, at top).

NOTES: Want something to drink?
The Spanish grape variety godello is a perfect foil to the richly flavoured chorizo and mussels. try the 2012 Bodegas Valdesil Montenovo Blanco, made from grapes grown in Valdeorras, Spain. The wine has a fresh, zesty minerality on the finish that goes well with fennel, garlic and lemon.

First published in the Good Weekend. Photography by William Meppem and Jennifer Soo. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.

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