November 3, 2017

Restaurateur Paul Kahan’s Mussels In Sour Beer

Recipe: Paul Kahan

Try this recipe for Mussels In Sour Beer from Paul Kahan’s new cookbook, Cheers To The Publican, Cheers To The Publican, Repast And Present

Just after we came up with the idea for The Publican, a few of the chefs started coming over to my house to play around with different dishes, trying them over and over again until we got it right. We probably went through fifty or sixty mussel preparations, riffing on the traditional white wine version but also experimenting with other spirits. The winner was a variation using Gueuze (sounds like gooze), a sour Belgian beer that’s a little cidery and a little musty and has just the right amount of acidity that we balance with a good amount of butter, garlic, thyme, and chile flakes.


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp sliced garlic
  • 1 tbsp sliced shallot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1⁄2 tsp chile flakes
  • 2 lb mussels
  • 1⁄4 cup Gueuze beer
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped celery leaves or lovage
  • Baguette, for serving


Yield: Serves 4

  1. In a medium pot — ideally something ceramic or cast-iron that can go right onto the table — heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over high heat. When the butter foams, add the celery, garlic, shallot, bay leaf, thyme, and chile flakes and sweat for 1 minute.
  2. Add the mussels to the pot, flip all the ingredients together, pour in the Gueuze, cover the pot, and cook until the mussels are open, 3 to 5 minutes.
    Pull off the lid, stir in the remaining butter, and finish the mussels with a pinch of salt, the lemon juice, and celery leaves.
  3. Serve piping hot with hunks of baguette.

Reprinted with permission from Cheers to the Publican by Paul Kahan and Cosmo Goss with Rachel Holtzman, copyright © 2017. Photography by Peden + Munk. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.