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Stuffed Mussels

16 January 2014 / 18:01:41  GRReporter
3321 reads

Danielle Lachana

Turkey's unique location, with 3 percent of its land mass in Europe and 97 percent in Asia, plus the fact that it borders on the Mediterranean sea, gives rise to a wide variety of dishes, many of which also date back to the time of The Ottoman Empire. Particularly popular are the 'meze' (appetizers) and notably those using seafood, which is particularly tasty in Turkey due to the characteristics of the four seas around it and especially of the Bosporus Strait. In fact this area is well known for the nation's favourite seafood - mussels - that are often also sold as a street food and which are the main feature of  today's appetizer, Midye Dolmasi, (Stuffed Mussels).



(Serves 5 - 6  as a starter)



For more information on mussel cleaning and preparation you can click on this link:

Check the mussels and discard any broken ones. If any mussels are open, tap them on the workbench. If they do not close, discard them. Rinse.

Soak the mussels in salted water for 20 minutes to 1 hour. (Or for several hours if there is the possibility that they may contain a lot of sand).

Rinse the rice (to remove the starch) in a colander under cold running water several times, stirring around with your fingers, until the water runs clear. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cold water and leave for about 10 minutes. Rinse one final time and drain.

Sauté the onions in the olive oil in a deep pan over a medium heat until starting to soften (approximately 10 minutes). Add the pine nuts with the salt, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and red pepper, if using. Cook for about another 10 minutes, stirring, until the pine nuts turn a light golden brown.

Stir in the drained rice, the tomato and drained currants, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally until the rice just begins to change colour. Add enough warm water to cover the rice, bring to the boil and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer over a low to medium heat for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice is just cooked. (Add more salt if necessary).

Clean any surface debris or barnacles off the previously soaked mussels with a knife, brush or kitchen scourer.

Pull off the beards (the 'hairy' parts, tugging in a sharp downwards motion towards the hinge of the mussel (you can see the above link). Wash the mussels well.

To facilitate partial opening of the uncooked mussels in order to fill them with the rice, soak them again for about 10 minutes in warm salted water. As each mussel opens insert a knife between the two shells in the side opposite the hinge,  taking care to open up only that one side.

Stuff shells with the rice filling and close. (Note: Any left-over filling can be used as a delicious side dish or as a stuffing for chicken / turkey, etc.).

Arrange mussels side by side in a deep frying pan  or wide saucepan and pour in about 250 ml of water.

Cover the mussels  with a lid or plate and cook over high heat until all the water is absorbed and the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with the parsley. You can  also decorate with slices of lemon and raw carrot etc.

This dish is traditionally served chilled or at room temperature, but personally I prefer it warm.

Note: When eating the mussels, you can do as they do in Turkey when consuming the stuffed mussels in the street - break off the top part of the shell and use it like a spoon to scoop out the filling!

Afiyet olsun!- Enjoy your meal!

Tags: Midye dolmasi Stuffed mussels Turkish recipes Mediterranean recipes Rice Mussels
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