Mussels with Bacon and Thyme

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2

Quick-cooking and economical, mussels are ideal for an easy weeknight dinner, and the addition of bacon and thyme makes this version especially aromatic. Be sure to discard any mussels that are open when raw, unless they close when you tap them on your counter, and then discard any that remain closed once they have been cooked. Serve with plenty of crusty bread for sopping up the delicious liquid.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 thick-cut bacon slices, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) white wine
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) chicken stock
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) mussels
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a mussel pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Add the shallot and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fennel and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine, chicken stock and thyme and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook for 3 minutes, then stir the mussels. Re-cover the pot and continue cooking until the mussels are opened, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl.

Add the butter to the pot; stir until melted. Return the bacon and mussels to the pot and stir to coat the mussels with the liquid. Cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mussels, drizzle generously with olive oil and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 2 to 4.

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