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Belgian Recipes: Moules mariniere (Belgian Mussels)

Black pot filled with mussels and Belgian fries in the backgroundThere are a few different ways to steam these mussels, however the most simplest way of this national dish is the best. In Belgium, these mussels are served in black mussel pots, with a large lid that is used for the empty shells, however at home you can just use a large casserole dish for everyone.

When travelling Belgium, I would always order these and very rarely order anything else!  They were served with, of course, the best Pommes Frites!

Serves: 4


  • 4kg live mussels
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 250 ml / 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt and ground white pepper
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped


Scrub the mussels so that they are smooth and pull off the beards, if the mussels have them. If any of the mussels are open, give them a quick tap on the bench top and if they don’t snap shut, throw them away. You will also want to discard any mussels which are broken.
In a large heavy pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and saute the onions and leeks for 5 minutes. Add the celery and saute for 5 minutes more. Add the mussels, wine and salt and pepper. Cover the pan and place over a high heat for up to 5 minutes (less if possible) until the mussels are open. Shake the pan during this time to mix.
Discard any mussels which haven’t opened. Taste the liquid and season further if required. Leave the mussels in the large dish for everyone to help themselves or serve in individual bowls and sprinkle over the parsley. Serve Moules mariniere (Belgian Mussels) with fries or crusty bread. Mayonnaise on the side.

[box title=”Variations” style=”soft” box_color=”#6D6E72″]Moules a la creme: Same as above, only you add cream to the recipe[/box]

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