Campfire Chorizo Mussels

There is something so satisfying about cooking over an open fire; with the flame eagerly lapping at the pot and the glowing embers creating a warm ambiance, it’s the perfect setting for a savory meal. This primitive form of cooking requires time, patience, and ingenuity, but the experience is nothing short of amazing.

Chorizo, a Spanish sausage known for its bright red appearance, is made with pork and flavoured with smoked paprika and chilies. It adds the perfect amount of smokiness and heat to this simple recipe. This is campfire cooking beyond hotdogs and marshmallows.

To cook over a fire, you need simple tools: a cast-iron pot, heat resistant gloves, a wooden spoon, and a glass of wine. Next, the coals need to be set. Start by creating a large fire using lots of wood. Allow the fire to burn down until you have a bed of hot coals – their heat is even and easy to control, so spread them out into a flat layer before adding the pot. We have set up a cast-iron tripod, but you can easily place the pot directly on the coals or set up 4 rocks in a square to prop up the pot. Cooking over the fire doesn’t require summertime heat – we cook year round, rain or shine (or snow). Alongside this recipe is an oven friendly version as well, if this unconventional form of cooking isn’t your thing.

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

1 28oz can whole tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

1 teaspoon coconut sugar (any sweetener you like)

Mussels

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup white wine

2 cups tomato sauce (recipe above)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 oz spicy chorizo sausage, crumbled (or diced)

Method

Tomato Sauce

  1. Place a large frying pan or Dutch oven over the coals. Add olive oil, garlic, and onions. Cook until onion is tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juices, salt, and sugar to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the tomatoes begin to break down and resemble tomato sauce, approximately 30-45 minutes (or longer depending on your coals). Mash with a fork or potato masher every 15 minutes or so.

Mussels

  1. Add your Dutch oven to the fire or hang on the tripod. Once heated, add the olive oil, garlic and chorizo. Cook until hot, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Add the white wine and bring to a boil.
  3. Add tomato sauce and mussels and stir until combined. Cover with a lid and stir occasionally until the mussels just open wide. (Approximately 5-10 minutes.)
  4. Discard any mussels that are not unopened after 10 minutes.
  5. Top with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve with warm, crusty French bread.

Oven Method

Tomato Sauce

  1. Add olive oil, garlic, and onions to a large sauce pan or pot (preferably one that can be transferred to an oven) and cook until soft.
  2. Add tomatoes, salt, and sugar, and cook in the oven at 350° F for 45 – 60 minutes.

Cook the mussels with the same method used for cooking over the fire:

  1. Over medium heat, add the garlic and chorizo and cook for 5-10 minutes, until heated through.
  2. Add wine and bring to a boil.
  3. Toss in the tomato sauce and mussels and stir to combine. Cook 5-10 minutes until the mussels are open. Discard any that are not.
  4. Top with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve with warm, crusty French bread.