Suffolk Cyder Mussels

Photography: Michael Hart

This juicy dish of mussels in a mouthwatering cider and vegetable broth is just made for mopping up with lots of crusty bread.

The saying that mussels are in season when there’s an “r” in the month holds true, and you can enjoy them fresh from September to April, depending how warm and early autumn and spring are. Brancaster Staithe, in North Norfolk, is particularly famed for this delicious shellfish, and signs outside many cottages proclaim “mussels for sale.” They’re well worth shelling out for.

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cooking time 20 minutes



Scrub the mussels well in cold water and remove any beards. Discard any damaged shells or open shells that do not close when tapped sharply. Drain in a colander.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion, celery and carrot and fry gently, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Pour in the cyder and bring to the boil.

Tip the mussels into the pan and cover with the lid. Cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times until all the shells are open. Discard any that remain closed.

Using a large slotted spoon, remove the mussels and divide between 4 bowls.

Stir most of the parsley into the pan, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then boil rapidly for 3 to 4 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.

Pour over the mussels and scatter with the remaining parsley.

Serve immediately with crusty white bread to soak up the juice.



Suffolk cyder – traditional alcoholic (hard) cider made by Aspall in Suffolk; substitute local hard cider




Nutritional facts Per serving: about

  • Calories 319
  • Total fat 6.6 g
  • Saturated fat 2.9 g
  • Sodium 1,700 mg
  • Sugars 4.7 g
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Suffolk Cyder Mussels