Mussels with Butternut Squash, Saffron & Sage
1 lb live mussels, beards removed
1 oz canola oil
1 C autumn squash e.g. butternut, kabocha, or pumpkin
2 Tbsp shallot, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 C Friem Rauch Helles beer or another crisp lager
½ C heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh sage, minced
⅛ tsp saffron threads, optional
1 whole lemon, cut in half
- Start by preparing your mussels (see the note at the bottom of this page).
- Next, move onto your squash. If your squash of choice does not have an edible skin, peel it with a sturdy vegetable peeled (I recommend the Y-shaped models), then dice to 1/4-1/2″ pieces.
- As you move on dicing and mincing the rest of the ingredients as noted, place your cast iron over medium-low heat, and just let it start warming up. Cast iron takes a minute to get going, but once it heats up it has great momentum.
- Once you have all the ingredients prepped and measured, place a few drops of water in the pan. If it violently jumps and disappears immediately, turn the heat off and let it come down a bit. You want the few drops of water to sizzle and gently dance across the pan.
- Once your pan is at the right heat, keep the flame on low.
- Add the oil, followed by the squash. Stir every minute or so, and allow a little browning to start on the squash. After about five minutes, there should be a little browning and the squash should be feeling a little tender.
- Add the shallots and garlic, and stir a little more frequently now. Cook only another two minutes.
- Add the pFriem Rauch Helles (I like the smokiness it lends to this dish), or any other crisp pFriem lager. Once the beer fully simmers, add the cream, salt, sage, and saffron. Once this also fully simmers, add the mussels and cover the pot.
- Let the pan simmer, covered, for about 30 seconds, and give it a gentle shake. Repeat twice.
- Peek under the lid. By now, the mussels should have started to pop open. If not, keep covered and keep simmering. Once all of the mussels pop open, turn off the heat and remove the lid. If there are any mussels that simple won’t open once all the others do, discard it. Don’t try to force it open yourself.
- Squeeze half of the fresh lemon into the sauce, stir in, and taste. If you prefer more lemon, squeeze in the other half. Add more salt to your desired level.
- You can either transfer the mussels into a bowl, and pour the sauce over the top, or just serve family style out of the cast iron (a great addition to your Thanksgiving table!).
- Feel free to garnish with chopped herbs, an extra-virgin olive oil, or toasted sliced baguette for sauce dipping.